Keir Starmer vows to ‘close door on Putin’ with GB Energy

Labour would “close the door on Putin” by reducing Britain’s reliance on fossil fuel from overseas, Sir Keir Starmer has said, as he accused the Tories of leaving the nation exposed by failing on energy security.

The party leader claimed Rishi Sunak’s “political collapse” on net zero commitments risks leaving the UK “over a barrel” as he linked the green power transition to issues of national security.

On Tuesday, he will say the party’s plan to set up GB Energy – a publicly owned clean energy company – will help to protect the UK from spikes in the price of fuel like those that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“With Great British Energy, my changed Labour Party will close the door on Putin,” Sir Keir said.

“Energy policy is now a matter of national security. It is a key component of our country’s resilience and capacity to weather future shocks.

“We simply cannot afford to remain as vulnerable to price spikes as we have been in the past.

“Keeping the lights on and heating our homes should not mean leaving our front door open to Russia.”

Sir Keir will meet pensioners in the North West of England on Tuesday to discuss the cost of energy and talk about Labour’s plans for GB Energy.

The party says the firm will be headquartered in Scotland and funded through a windfall tax on big oil and gas firms, with an initial £8.3 billion capitalisation over the course of a parliament.

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This kind of tax is already in place, and was recently extended until 2029, but Labour would charge a higher rate.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave a speech last year delaying or scrapping some policies meant to cut carbon emissions, and vowed to “max out” the UK’s oil and gas reserves by granting new North Sea drilling licences.

Labour said the Conservatives were “gambling with family finances by opposing investment in homegrown clean energy”.

Sir Keir is pitching Labour as the “party of national security” as he seeks to shift perceptions of its defence stance after the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, a long-standing critic of the Nato military alliance and the Trident nuclear weapons programme.

On Tuesday, he will say the UK’s ability to weather global energy shocks like those after Russia’s invasion is a “key component” of national security.

Mr Sunak has dismissed the plans for GB Energy as “just a logo”, while Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said the proposals fail to meet “the demands of the climate crisis”.