Peter Mandelson: ‘Starmer has seen off Corbynite extremists but has more to do to reinvent Labour’

Lord Mandelson (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)
Lord Mandelson (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

Sir Keir Starmer has "sorted out the extremists" on the Labour left but has "more to do" to reinvent the party, Peter Mandelson has said.

The Labour peer said the “Corbynites and anti Semites” had been expelled by Sir Keir, who took charge of the party two years ago following its disasterous election results in 2019.

Lord Mandelson, who was the architect of “new” Labour’s three general election victories in 1997, 2001 and 2005, added that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was “not in control” of the Conservative party and is leading a "hand to mouth government".

Speaking to Times Radio on Wednesday, he said: “There’s always more to do...I think that what people are beginning to see is the difference between the Conservative and Labour parties in a very, very interesting and fundamental way.

“The Tories are still in the hands of the populist right who control [Prime Minister Rishi Sunak].  Labour is back in the mainstream centre, led by a strong and assertive leader in Starmer and that’s basically the story of British politics since the 2019 election.

“Essentially, Starmer has sorted out the extremists on his left, while the Tories are still trapped by theirs on their right...both the Tories and Labour deserted the centre ground and went populist, Labour under Corbyn, the Tories under Johnson, and what a choice that was in 2019.

“But what’s happened since then, is that Starmer’s seen off the Corbynites, the anti Semites and the rest.”

It comes as Sir Keir faces further pushback against his plan to abolish the House of Lords - from Labour lords including Mandelson and David Blunkett.

Lord Mandelson has warned that the reform risked sweeping Labour into a “quagmire of disagreement' without cross-party support.