Tory peer calls for Labour leader to be included in wartime coalition government

A Conservative peer has called for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to be included in a wartime coalition government to see Britain through the Ukraine crisis.

Lord Patrick Cormack said the Russian invasion was the “most crucial time” since World War II – when the UK had a national government made up of ministers from both main parties.

“The time for a national government is, I think now,” said the Tory peer told ITV News after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s historic address to parliament.

Urging senior Tory and Labour figures to “get together” and discuss a coalition, Lord Cormack said: “The time is coming when we should think of a national government.

“I think Keir Starmer was very good in there today – statesmanlike, patriotic, all the things we expect a leader of the opposition to be.”

The peer said: “I think the time should now come when those who hold high positions in both parties should get together. We have to have our priorities in order, and the priority is the defence of democracy and the free world.”

He added: “We’ve never had to play and argue for higher stakes, not since the Second World War … We are plunged in deep darkness. It’s the most crucial time we have had in our country’s history since 1939. All politicians should work together.”

The last national government seen in Britain was the coalition lead by Winston Churchill between 1940 and 1945, which included Labour and Liberal ministers such as Clement Atlee and Sir Archibald Sinclair.

Sir Keir appeared to withdraw his previous calls for Mr Johnson to resign at the weekend, when he called for “unity” in the face of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Clarifying his remarks on Monday, the Labour leader said: “My position on the prime minister and what I think of him hasn’t changed, I don’t think he’s fit to be prime minister.

“But at a time when we’re seeing these desperate scenes from Ukraine, my arguments today, my focus today, is on Ukraine.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Zelensky earlier echoed Winston Churchill and compared his country’s fight against Russia to Britain’s battle against the Nazis in an historic address to parliament.

The embattled leader said: “We will fight until the end, at sea, in the air. We will continue fighting for our land whatever the cost. We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets.”

Mr Johnson said the speech had “moved the hearts of everybody”, while Sir Keir added: “He has shown his strength and we must show him, and the Ukrainian people.”


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