In Brief

Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump offers ‘stark lessons’ to Labour, Keir Starmer says

UK opposition leader argues that broad coalition building can also help his own party regain power

Keir Starmer is calling for Labour to learn from Joe Biden’s presidential election victory and for the UK to help the US Democrat build “a better, more optimistic future”. 

In an article in The Guardian, the Labour Party leader writes that American voters have chosen “unity over division, hope over fear and integrity over dishonesty”, and that Britain should “welcome”  the president-elect’s pledge “to restore the US’s alliances and fill the void in global leadership”.

In what Politico London Playbook’s Alex Wickham suggests is a veiled “nod to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left losing the red wall”, Starmer continues: “The Democrats’ path to victory was paved by a broad coalition, including many of the states and communities that four years ago turned away from them.

“This election also had stark lessons for those of us who want to see progressive values triumph over the forces of division and despair.”

The Tories reportedly fear that as well as offering a learning experience, the US election result may have other benefits for Labour. According to Wickham, ministers are concerned that the new president will “hit it off” with Starmer, “allowing the Labour leader to position himself as his British equivalent”. 

These concerns have been exacerbated by Boris Johnson’s past comments about Biden’s close friend and former boss Barack Obama. Johnson and Biden have not met, but the latter is no doubt familiar with the prime minister’s 2016 suggestion that then president Obama harboured anti-British views because of his Kenyan ancestry.

Biden has begun calling world leaders following his election victory, but “Johnson is braced for an early snub from the president-elect”, who last year described the Tory leader as a “physical and emotional clone” of Donald Trump, the Daily Mail reports.

As the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent James Lansdale notes, Biden and his team also view Brexit as a “historic mistake”.

And those misgivings lie behind “an expectation among many observers that when President Biden seeks to repair transatlantic relationships, he may focus more of his attention on Paris and Berlin than London”, says Lansdale.

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