Starmer admits he flew by private jet to clean energy jobs rally in Scotland

Keir Starmer has admitted he used a private jet to travel to a campaign rally in Scotland where he promised to create “tens of thousands” of clean energy jobs with a new publicly owned energy company in the country.

Responding to media questions after speaking to activists in Greenock, Inverclyde, Starmer said: “We did use a private jet because we did need to get very quickly to Scotland from Wales yesterday and it was the most efficient form of transport in the middle of a very busy general election campaign.”

He added: “We offset the carbon, we always do when we use transport in the air, but it is a practical situation because I need to get across the country to speak to as many people as possible, and when time is tight we need to do it as efficiently as possible.”

Speaking alongside his deputy, Angela Rayner, Ed Miliband and the Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, Starmer told supporters his party would be “ready to run” with plans to create Great British Energy “from day one” and promised “we will certainly, after the first year, be in a position to see the difference”.

Asked about repeated concerns raised by unions abut the impact on jobs, Starmer said: “I’ve been very clear that we’re not turning off the tap. Oil and gas will be part of the mix for many years, we’re not revoking any licences but transition is coming.”

Miliband said the plan meant “Scotland will be the clean energy powerhouse of Great Britain”, creating “tens of thousands of jobs with strong trade unions and reindustrialising our country”.

Pressed on Angela Rayner’s comments on Thursday that Diane Abbott should be allowed to stand again for election if she wished to, Starmer declined to say whether he agreed with his deputy and repeated his position that the decision was for Labour’s NEC.

Starmer said: “No decision has been taken – no decision to bar Diane. Obviously she’s got the whip back and she’s been a trailblazer for many years.”

Asked about Michael Matheson, Scotland’s former health secretary, who was suspended as an MSP and docked 54 days’ pay for wrongly claiming an £11,000 iPad roaming bill on expenses, Starmer backed Holyrood constituents having the right of recall of their MSPs, as happens with MPs at the Commons, and said the parallels between the Tories and the SNP were “very striking”.

“You’ve got chaos and division, unelected leader after unelected leader and now on standards in public life you’ve got the SNP picking up the Boris Johnson playbook”.