Will a new prime minister destabilise Keir Starmer’s leadership of Labour?

Depending on who wins the Tory leadership contest, Starmer will have to redefine his position, writes John Rentoul. But is he even the right person for the job?

What does Keir Starmer do next?

We have lost Keir Starmer, said one of the presenters of the Today programme, when the Labour leader’s line was cut off in the middle of an interview last week. A few seconds later, the connection was partially restored, and the listeners could hear Starmer still talking, unaware that he’d been cut off, and unable to hear the presenters. He was faded out and the metaphor was complete.

Starmer is still talking, but the voters can hear him only intermittently, and he can’t hear them. The Conservative leadership contest is taking up most of the media’s bandwidth.

Starmer’s leadership has seemed surprisingly insecure for months. He started the instability in May by saying he would resign if he were fined by the Durham police for breaking coronavirus law. That prompted a flurry of speculation about Lisa Nandy and Wes Streeting – not so much about Angela Rayner because she had made the same promise to quit and attended the same campaign event.

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