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Sir Keir Starmer insisted that Penny Mordaunt’s jibe comparing him to “beach Ken” from the Barbie movie because “he has no balls” is “just water off a duck’s back”.
The Labour leader was embarrassed again by the pun use by the Conservative leader of the House last week while appearing on Trevor Phillips Sunday morning politics show on Sky News.
But Starmer was also pressed about his plans if he wins next year’s election and refused to rule out yet another massive tax hike.
This is despite tax levels being at their highest level already since the Second World War.
But it has set off more alarm bells over what Labour would do in power after his new small boats policy launched last week appeared to be a reversal of Brexit.
READ MORE: Keir Starmer small boats plan unravels as he backtracks on a key part of plan
Starmer was forced to watch the clip of Mordaunt making her Barbie joke about him.
Responding to it he told Phillips: “I just think when a government has completely run out of energy and ideas and the ability to shape or change anything, they go down this rabbit hole of ridiculous insults.
“It’s water off a duck’s back to me. I’m clearly setting out in strong terms what I do about issues like border control, where in the past Labour has not really wanted to speak, so I speak confidently about the challenges that we face.
“My focus, unlike Penny Mordaunt’s, is on the challenges that we face as a country.”
But he was also put under scrutiny over his tax plans and tried to slip out of giving a direct answer.
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He said: “I want the tax burden to come down, particularly on working people. That’s been our consistent position.
“But Trevor, the difference with me is that I am absolutely laser focussed on growing our economy because the problem we’ve had in the last 13 years is that, the economy
Phillips intervened: “Are you saying the tax burden will not come down?A
Starmer replied: “No, I’m saying, I want it to come down for working people. That’s what I said.
“But I also, I’m absolutely focussed on growing the economy.
“If the economy in the last 13 years had grown at the same rate as the last Labour government, we’d have tens of billions of pounds to spend on our public services without raising a penny more in tax. And that’s where I want that laser focus.”
He also insisted that he has not fallen out with Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan over his expansion of the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) which lost the party the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election.
Starmer said: “I speak to Sadiq Khan all of the time. We had a very productive meeting just last week.
“We’re working together. And again, there’s a classic example here.
“I’ve got two children, as you know, aged 15 and 12. I don’t give them dirty water to drink. I don’t want them to breathe in dirty air. So we can’t do nothing.
“But what I don’t want is a scheme that disproportionately hits those working people who need to use their cars.
“I’m talking to Sadiq about that, but this is a grown up, constructive way forward.
“But what I’m not going to do is what the government is doing, is simply saying, well, I’ve got to go back on that commitment. I don’t want dirty air breathed by anyone. We need to find a way to deal with that.”
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