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Labor energy policy has been plunged into disarray, after Keir Starmer blinded shadow business secretary Ed Miliband by ruling out nationalization of the six big energy companies.

It is understood that Miliband was frustrated by Starmer’s comments as he was keen to keep open the option of nationalizing parts of the energy sector to help the economy transition to net zero.

Appearing on BBC One’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday, hours before Labor delegates passed a sweeping motion calling for a ‘new green socialist deal’, Starmer was asked directly if he would consider nationalizing the mainstream energy suppliers to deal with the energy crisis. He replied, “No. “

Instead, speaking shortly before Miliband gave his conference speech, he said Labor would only advocate nationalization under certain circumstances.

“When it comes to common property, I’m pragmatic about it,” he said. “Let me spell it out. This means that where common ownership is profitable for the taxpayer and provides better service, then I am in favor of common ownership.

In contrast, Miliband suggested on Newsnight earlier in the week that the party was about to renew its commitment to common ownership of energy and other public resources.

“We have not changed this commitment,” said Miliband. “If we want to make this green transition, then public ownership is the right way to go. “

The shadow business secretary has yet to define what elements of the system Labor would push into public ownership – but it is understood he was not ready to rule out the nationalization of energy providers, preferring to specify the details in the run-up to the next general election.

The “big six” controlled around 70% of the energy supply market in 2019.

A leading Labor source, who asked whether Miliband or Starmer were presenting the Labor Party position, said the party’s policy was “what Keir says it is”.

The Labor leader’s comments came as delegates at the party’s conference in Brighton overwhelmingly backed a motion calling on the party to adopt a series of sweeping climate policies.

Besides the nationalization of the energy sector, these included the creation of a “national service of nature”, “a government program creating millions of unionized and well-paid green jobs with public entities” and “Massive investments in green technologies and renewable energies. ”.

Momentum Co-Chair Gaya Sriskanthan said: “This is a turning point. The grassroots are fed up with timid centrism and overwhelmingly endorsed a transformative socialist policy that confronts the crises of the 21st century head-on. “

Starmer’s comments on the Big Six seemed to contradict his own position when seeking votes from Labor members in last year’s leadership race.

One of his 10 key commitments was that “Public services should be in the hands of the state, not generate profits for shareholders. Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water.

Srikanthan said, “Starmer has spent enough time running away from his 10 promises. It is time to support a policy of transformation. Trade unionists support bold solutions – leaders must follow suit.

In his conference address on Sunday, against the backdrop of queues outside gas stations and empty shelves in supermarkets, Miliband reminded Labor members of David Cameron’s warning: “Britain faces a simple and inescapable choice: stability and a strong government with me, or chaos with Ed Miliband.

“I’ll tell you one thing: I would have had a hell of a better view than that miserable shower,” he said.

Miliband said it was Labor’s responsibility “to be the party of green and red together. To be together the party of climate and economic justice.

Chris Saltmarsh, co-chair and co-founder of the Labor for a Green New Deal lobby group, said: “It’s fantastic to hear Labor talk about building a vision around a New Green Deal, but it must back up the words with policies.

“As new polls show, a majority of the public supports the renationalization of our energy companies. This is the perfect opportunity to build on this support and implement a unifying and ambitious agenda for climate justice. “

Starmer will deliver his own speech on Wednesday, the first in person since taking charge last year, after kicking off the rally with an internal feud over how his successor will be chosen.

Starmer announced a new policy on Sunday to remove charitable status from private schools in England and spend the money on giving children more soft skills to make them more ready for work.

Starmer said: “It is a political choice to take this money and transfer it to our public schools so that the children and youth in our public schools have the best chance to come out of schools ready for life, ready for the future. job. “

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