Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said it’s “a bit rich” for people to blame him for the party’s dismal election results.
After saying last week that Starmer’s Labour was “offering nothing” to voters, he has again criticised the new leader.
Appearing on ITV’s Calling Peston, Corbyn described his predecessor Keir Starmer “a bit weak” for blaming the poor performance on him.
What did Corbyn say about Keir Starmer?
Corbyn criticised the campaign, saying it “bizarrely” focused on national issues despite being a local election.
He said: "People didn't feel confident in what the policy offer was, and rather bizarrely, the leadership launched the local election campaign on the basis of national policies. Whereas of course it's a local election.
"But I think there's the feeling that Labour had done too much agreeing with the government when many people's experience of COVID is one of fear. We ended up being seen as a party that basically agreed with the whole government strategy."
Corbyn said he doesn’t take any responsibility for the party’s poor recent showing, and said it would be “weak” of Starmer to suggest otherwise.
He said: "I think it's a bit rich to start blaming me for stuff that's been done over the past year that I've had absolutely no part of whatsoever.
"I do think that dumping on somebody because they're not there anymore is a bit weak.
"Do I take responsibility for it? No."
"We had a set of popular policies in the last manifesto - green industrial revolution, investment in the economy, equality legislation, national education service - as a party, ditching all of that, we'll be in an even worse position.
Starmer has seemingly managed the impressive feat of uniting Corbyn and Tony Blair, in their criticism of him, at least, after the former Labour prime minister appeared on Good Morning Britain alongside his old colleague, Alastair Cambell.
Blair argued that the party should move to the centre, but Corbyn said it would be a mistake to move rightward.
He said: "There has to be that position where you have a credible socialist-inspired program that I think people can come to. We had 600,000 members in December, 2019. I don't think we have so many now."
‘My skin is very thick’
Discussing his failure to win an election with Labour, Corbyn said that the media’s “monstering” of him and many of his colleagues played a big part in keeping him out of Downing Street.
“The mainstream media has monstered me for the past five years; monstered me and John McDonnell and Diane Abbott and others in a quite extraordinary way.
“We've had even more abuse than Arthur Scargill had and he led the miner's strike.
“Now, I'm grown up. I'm descendants of a rhinoceros - my skin is very thick. I don't really care what people say about me.”
In a reference to a somewhat botched reshuffle of his own in 2016, Corbyn said he could sympathise with Starmer’s recent attempt, but said Angela Rayner’s elected position as deputy leader “should be respected”.
He said “"No reshuffle is ever easy to do, so I've got some sympathies with that,"
"I've been through that experience myself, but I must say it's a very odd time to do a reshuffle, because it seems to be a sort of knee jerk reaction in order to create a different set of headlines.”
Is Jeremy Corbyn currently a Labour MP?
Corbyn is currently sitting in parliament as an independent having been barred from the Parliamentary Labour Party following his reaction to the publication of the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR) report on antisemitism in the Labour party.
He is campaigning to be reinstated as a Labour MP and says he does not want to see the matter settled in court.
He said: "I want this to be a political decision, not a legal decision. I am a member of the Labour party, which I have been ever since 1966.
“As far as I'm concerned, I should be restored to full membership of the Parliamentary Labour Party, and that by the way, is what very large numbers of Labour party members also think”.