Posted: Tue 30th Jan 2024

Boss of Deeside based Iceland and former Tory party donor backing Keir Starmer to become next PM

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jan 30th, 2024

The boss of the Deeside-based Iceland supermarket has thrown his support behind Labour leader Keir Starmer to become the next Prime Minister.

The executive chairman of the frozen food retailer, a former Tory party donor, had at one point aspired to become a Conservative MP.

He quit the party in October, stating: “I have now reached the end of the road with the Conservative Party, cancelled my membership, and resigned from their list of approved parliamentary candidates.”

Writing in The Guardian, Walker detailed his journey from Conservative supporter to Labour endorser, attributing his decision to a combination of Labour’s evolving policies and a growing disenchantment with the current Conservative leadership.

He stated that his decision was not due to a “radical change of heart” but rather Labour’s shift towards values he has always embraced.

This shift, coupled with what he perceives as the Conservative Party’s abandonment of its fundamental principles, has led to his support for Labour.

Highlighting the current political landscape, Walker pointed to opinion polls showing a public confidence crisis in the Conservative Party.

He expressed his confidence in Starmer’s leadership abilities, citing his successful transformation of the Labour Party since 2019 and his understanding of issues like the cost of living crisis.

Walker’s support for Labour also stems from specific policy positions, such as easing regulations around infant formula availability – something Iceland has been campaigning on – and Labour’s commitments to tackling educational challenges and health issues.

On the economic front, Walker commends Rachel Reeves; he said she was a chancellor in waiting who understood the critical importance of wealth creation and that he believed the party would remove barriers in the planning system, as well as “breathing new life into our wearied high streets”.

He sees Labour’s approach to planning and high street revitalisation as a potential boon for both housing and economic growth.

Despite his endorsement, Walker maintains his independence, clarifying that he doesn’t agree with every Labour policy and won’t join the party.

His support is grounded in a belief that Labour’s current direction aligns more closely with his values and the needs of his business’s customers and employees.

Walker concludes by reiterating his personal support for Starmer and Labour in the forthcoming general election, expressing hope for Labour’s success and the implementation of its recovery programme for the UK.

He said, “I think Labour today has a strong leader backed by a very capable team and a clear vision for the future.”

“It understands business, sustainable and green growth, and the power of partnerships between the state and the market.”

“In whatever way I weigh it up, it is clear that the values and principles I have long cherished are now aligned with Labour rather than the Tories.”

“How my customers and colleagues vote is their choice and Iceland is apolitical.”

“Personally, I look forward to supporting Keir Starmer and Labour in the forthcoming general election.”

“I hope it delivers the majority they will need to begin delivering their recovery programme for the UK.”

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