Worry over bills ‘keeping people up at night’ – Starmer

The rising cost of living is keeping people up at night, Labour leader Keir Starmer has said while on the campaign trail in Worthing.

Sir Keir arrived at the West Sussex seaside town on Monday morning to do some final campaigning ahead of Thursday’s local elections.

Elections will be held in 140 of England’s councils, with all of Scotland’s 32 councils and all 22 in Wales also heading to the polls.

Sir Keir walked along the beach with Worthing Council Labour group leader Beccy Cooper before stopping at Coast cafe.

He said: “Everybody is talking about the cost-of-living crisis.

“The thing that has been keeping people up at night is worrying about paying their bills and being whacked with tax by the Government.

“From the Labour Party point of view we think that there should be a windfall tax on oil and gas companies in the North Sea, they have made more profit than they are expecting.

“Use that for energy bills, up to £600 for those who need it most.”

Keir Starmer visit to Worthing
Sir Keir Starmer talks to Labour councillor Beccy Cooper during his visit (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Labour leader was also asked about his plan to deal with the migrant crisis after some 254 people were detected in small boats crossing the Channel to the UK on Sunday.

He said that he would solve the migrant crisis by working closer with France.

“Nobody wants to see anybody making that perilous journey across the Channel and everybody wants to crack down on the criminal gangs that are driving this”, he said.

“The best way to do that is to have an international co-ordinated criminal response.

“I have worked on international criminal organisations before when I was director of public prosecutions.

“I know what can be done if you’ve got teams working together across Europe all the way along those routes absolutely bearing down on these criminal gangs and working very closely with the French authorities as well.”

Keir Starmer visit to Worthing
Labour Leader Sir Keir took in the view from Worthing pier (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Keir again denied that he had broken Covid lockdown rules after a video emerged of him drinking a beer last April in Durham.

The Labour leader was filmed in the Durham constituency office of local MP Mary Foy while he was campaigning in the area.

“There was no party”, he said.

“There was no breach of the rules. There was nothing really to add.”

Despite the Durham allegations, Sir Keir was keen to press that Downing Street was “the most-fined workplace in the UK”.

“Contrast that to Downing Street, where we know that there have been 50 fines issued already in Downing Street in relation to goings on.

“That makes Downing Street the most-fined workplace in the whole of the UK.”