Bernie Sanders urged Keir Starmer to follow Joe Biden’s example of embracing the left of his party.
The US Senator spoke to former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell via video link at The World Transformed festival, on the fringe of Labour Party Conference in Brighton.
Mr McDonnell asked Senator Sanders, a prominent socialist on the left of the Democratic Party, how he’d managed to build a relationship with a “centrist leader” and convince the President to adopt a “radical programme”.
“I want to let you into a secret,” Mr McDonnell said. “We have a centrist leader as well, but we’re having problems in ensuring that we have a working relationship from the left with that relationship.”
Senator Sanders, who campaigned against President Biden for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, said Mr Biden had embraced the passionate youth movement the left had energised in the US.
“You’re quite right,” Senator Sanders said.
“[Biden’s] history is one of being a moderate centrist, but he is a very decent human being.
“I know him quite well and I say that without hesitation. He does not like to see suffering, racism or sexism around him.”
He said: “To his credit, and I think he deserves enormous credit, he looked around him and he saw the kind of movement that we helped develop … and the excitement of young people in wanting transformative change.”
He added: “We still have differences, but to his credit he was prepared to think big not small – and he understood that the only way that we bring people into the political process is by talking about the pain that they are now experiencing.”
The World Transformed is a festival organised by the Jeremy Corbyn-backing Momentum campaign group to coincide with Labour Party Conference.Internet Explorer Channel Network