'11,500 words but no policies' Peston bursts out laughing as McDonnell mocks Starmer essay

John McDonnell branded Keir Starmer’s 11,500-word leadership essay as the “Sermon on the Mount written by a focus group”. In a scathing assessment of the highly-anticipated ‘statement of intent,’ Mr McDonnell noted that the essay contained no policy proposals. This is despite the Labour leader’s essay running to a whopping 35-page length.

ITV’s Robert Peston also mocked Sir Keir’s leadership, saying his slogans and policy ideas were vague and difficult to understand.

In his essay, released by the Fabian Society think tank last night, Sir Keir emphasises the values of hard work and the government’s partnership with the private sector.

If elected prime minister, the Labour leader vowed to create “a society built on everyone’s contribution”.

Sir Keir apparently spent months writing the essay over the summer.

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Reacting to the essay, Mr McDonnell said: “I’ve read the document. It looks like the Sermon on the Mount written by a focus group, to be honest.”

Mr Peston asked: “I haven’t seen it, so are there any policy proposals?

The former Shadow Chancellor responded: “No, not that I could see that are in any way decisive.

“Actually we did slogans like For The Many, Not The Few!”

Mr McDonnell added: “So I’m hoping he does that, and it will move it on a bit, and in that way, we get away from this row over the internal mechanisms of the Labour Party, concentrate on the real-world issues, and start inspiring people.”

Sir Keir has faced criticism from some in Labour that he lacks vision and voters don’t know what his values are.

Conservative party co-chairman Oliver Dowden laughed off the essay: “If this is Starmer’s ‘big vision’ then he should have gone to Specsavers.

“Labour are talking to themselves about themselves. They’re all essays and no action.”

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