Steve Coogan says Starmer’s Labour leadership has left him politically homeless

Actor and comedian Steve Coogan has delivered a bitter blow to Keir Starmer’s leadership of the Labour Party, turning against the party for the first time.

Speaking on BBC 5Live this afternoon, the Alan Partridge actor said Sir Keir’s leadership has made him politically homeless, and slammed him for lacking political conviction.

Mr Coogan has appeared in Labour Party adverts endorsing both Ed Miliband’s and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership over the last decade.

Speaking to the BBC, he described Sir Keir’s leadership as “I think in the morning he licks his finger, sticks it up in the air and sees which way the wind is blowing and that’s the strategy”.

Asked if he’s now politically homeless, Mr Coogan said he is, and cited the Labour Party’s recent response to the Gary Lineker furore after the football pundit compared the Government’s refugee policy to Nazi Germany.

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“I remember when Gary Lineker did that tweet about refugees and everyone jumped on him, and Keir Starmer wheeled out Emily Thornberry to quietly admonish Gary for his unwise choice of words.

“And then – Keir Starmer hiding in the background waiting to see which way the wind blows – the next day a tsunami of public support for Gary’s sentiments emerged, and guess what? Keir Starmer was right behind Gary.

“What a surprise.”

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Mr Coogan said he has become saddened by Sir Keir’s leadership and said he has brought about an American-style political choice in which “you can have a choice between a right-wing Government that reinforces the establishment and protects the vested interests, or you can have a Government that does that, but slightly less”.

“I just don’t think that’s much of a choice.”

Finally, the comedian slammed Sir Keir Starmer’s approach to free speech within the Labour Party, saying he has destroyed the “idea of dissent”. Keir Starmer is a very good political operator – I’ll give him that – but it’s at the expense of grown-up conversation.

“He’s so risk-averse that he will say or do whatever reinforces his chances of being elected… it stops real conversation”.

In a 2019 election campaign ad for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, Mr Coogan said “I’ve always supported [the Labour Party]”.

At the Lib Dem conference this September, Mr Coogan said he will vote Liberal Democrat as he currently lives in the Lewes constituency where Labour isn’t a contender.

He said he remains committed to wanting to “kick the Tories out” at the next General Election.

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