Starmer accused of playing politics on Twitter over Labour attack ad

Keir Starmer outlines Labour’s missions

Sir Keir Starmer’s latest attack advert has been branded “the height of hypocrisy”, as outrage at the campaign grows. A Tory source accused the Labour leader of “playing politics on Twitter”. The Conservative Party has dismissed the advert, which focuses on the previous non-dom tax status of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife.

A Tory source said: “This is the height of hypocrisy from a party which has already made £90 billion of unfunded spending commitments and whose leader stands to benefit from a bespoke, tax-unregistered pension scheme unavailable to others.

“Rishi Sunak has a plan to halve inflation, grow the economy and reduce debt.

“Sir Keir (Starmer) only has a plan to play politics on Twitter.”

The Labour Party has published a series of adverts in recent days attacking Mr Sunak’s record in Government.

Last week, Sir Keir faced criticism for an advert which claimed Rishi Sunak does not think child sex abusers should go to prison.

The poster cited Ministry of Justice figures that 4,500 adults convicted of sexually assaulting children have avoided jail and instead received community or suspended sentences since 2010.

The ad prompted criticism from within the Labour Party, with MP and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell saying: “This is not the sort of politics a Labour Party, confident of its own values and preparing to govern, should be engaged in.

“I say to the people who have taken the decision to publish this ad, please withdraw it. We, the Labour Party, are better than this.”

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper also distanced herself from the advert, claiming she was not consulted about the ad.

Meanwhile, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton, Kempton, criticised the ads, warning they could backfire and “harm” the party in some parts of the country.

He told the Independent: “I’ve expressed my disquiet about it the very highest level of the party, and my concern that it might have a negative electoral impact in Brighton.”

One senior Labour backbencher said numerous MPs had complained to Sir Keir about the ad, saying it had caused deep frustration across the party.

The MP claimed many MPs had criticised the strategy on parliamentary WhatsApp groups, dismissing it as “gutter politics”.

Members of the shadow cabinet are also understood to be uncomfortable with the new tactics, having not been consulted about the messaging.

But despite the backlash, Sir Keir’s team is preparing to go further with the attack lines.

Labour is said to be gearing up to publish a new online ad in the coming days, accusing Mr Sunak of effectively “decriminalising” rape.

Andrew Fisher, a former policy adviser under Jeremy Corbyn, said the ads were “ugly”.

He claimed they show “desperation” from within Sir Keir’s party as a result of the Tories’ improving poll numbers.

The ad, published last week, prompted widespread criticism, with Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson describing it as “vile and desperate.”

Senior Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood described the ad as “appalling” and said it threatened to undermine the democratic process.

He added: “We should be better than this. I’ve called it out on my own side for stooping low and do so again now.”

Tory MP Robert Largan said: “I’m not going to quote tweet it. But that Labour Party post about the Prime Minister is in the gutter. Really shameful stuff.”

Meanwhile, SNP MP John Nicolson said: “This is absolutely nauseating. Politics cheapened and debased. The Labour Party wants to win, of course, but like this?”

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