Sir Keir Starmer has ruled out nationalizing the big energy companies if he wins the next election.
When asked if he would pursue such a move if he became Prime Minister, the Workforce chief said, “No.”
Mr. Keir made the pledge in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show at the Labor Party conference in Brighton.
It comes amid a crisis in the energy sector, with rising wholesale gas prices causing several companies to exit the market and warnings others may follow.
During his successful campaign to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as the party’s top job, Sir Keir made 10 pledges spelling out the key principles of his vision for work.
One said that “Utilities should be in the hands of the state, not generate profits for shareholders. Support common ownership of railways, mail, energy and the water”.
But speaking on Sunday, Sir Keir said: “I don’t see any nationalization there.
“When it comes to common property, I’m pragmatic about it. I don’t agree with the argument that we have to be ideological.”
Sir Keir did not go into details of what common property would entail if it were not for nationalization.
“I would be pragmatic on this, and where common ownership is profitable for the taxpayer and provides better services, there should be common ownership,” the Labor leader said.
The Momentum campaign group denounced Sir Keir’s remarks, with Co-Chair Andrew Scattergood saying it was “further proof that Starmer was abandoning his leadership campaign promises” and was content to “fall back on neoliberal dogma” .
And he faces calls from unions to stick to Corbyn-era policies to nationalize key industries.
A conference motion proposed by the Communication Workers Union and Unite said Sir Keir should not make “timid tweaks” and instead opt for “deep and transformative change”, arguing that there are clear arguments for “expanding the public property “as a result of COVID. -19 pandemic.
He says a future Labor government should support the return of Royal Mail to public ownership and argues that the “broadband-relevant parts” of BT should be placed under public control in order to provide free all-fiber broadband everyone by 2030.
In the same interview, Sir Keir also didn’t ban raising income tax if he got the keys to number 10.
“Nothing is on the table, but we do not know what will be the state of national finances as the elections approach,” he said.
Meanwhile, Labor has announced it will seek to raise Â£ 1.7bn for public education by increasing the tax burden on private schools.
According to the Sunday Mirror, the party will seek to raise funds by ending the charitable status of private schools, with the move expected to bring in Â£ 1.6bn after the removal of the VAT exemption and Â£ 104m. business rate pounds sterling.
This party conference is the first in-person Labor rally in two years – and Sir Keir’s first since taking office in April 2020.
The rally is seen as crucial in consolidating his position and returning to center stage after a mixed period as a leader so far.
The conference got off to a bad start for Sir Keir while he was forced to dilute its proposals to change Labor regulations in the face of opposition from the unions and the left wing of the party.
He has abandoned his efforts to abolish the “one member, one vote” system which has seen Jeremy Corbyn twice elected to the leadership of the Labor Party.
But he did manage to vote on a revised overhaul of Labor rules, with members must render his verdict later on Sunday.
To give Sir Keir a boost, Sky News understands that UNISON will vote in favor of the change in leadership rule.
Sir Keir insisted he was happy with the reform package that will be voted on, telling Marr: “I have a rule change package that does what I wanted them to do, that is – to say to ensure that the Labor Party can focus on the country, and some of those rules were holding us back, “he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
“So I’m very happy with the situation we’re in. It’s a solid package, it went through the executive committee yesterday, it’s going to the conference today.”
He said his conference speech on Wednesday would be an “opportunity for me to indicate where I think this country needs to go next.”
And Sir Keir rejected the suggestion that he should be more of a “showman” like Boris Johnson, calling the Prime Minister “unreliable”.
He said: “Apparently he is being taken into account, he is dishonest. We just have to stop there and ask ourselves: do we want our politics and our political leaders and our prime minister to be of a characteristic where they? are not trustworthy and where does it cost in that they are dishonest?
“I’m different, I’m afraid. I believe in integrity, I believe in truth.”
Sir Keir has also defended his plight as a Labor leader so far, saying: “I just made a tough decision about rule changes because I didn’t want to delay. And a tough, strong leader makes tough decisions. when they arise and do not procrastinate and put them aside.
“I am about to make my speech on Wednesday and this is an opportunity for me to indicate where I think this country needs to go next, and what the alternative is to this government which is in chaos, and we are going to see over the next month. “