A LABOUR government under Keir Starmer will become “very unpopular very quickly”, according to a mayor who quit the party over his “Stalinist” treatment.

Jamie Driscoll, the mayor of North of Tyne, said the massive rebellion of Labour MPs on the Gaza ceasefire vote earlier this week was indicative of the “long-term problems” that are “already facing” Starmer.

If he becomes prime minister at the next election, Starmer will not “get to grips with the fact that Britain is now a colony for wealth extraction”, Driscoll predicted.

Speaking exclusively with The National ahead of his appearance at the Break Up of Britain conference in Edinburgh on Saturday, Driscoll also hit out at his treatment at the hands of Starmer and his top team, which saw him blocked from standing as Labour's candidate for mayor of the planned North East Combined Authority.

He quit the party and is now an independent after the block – which drew criticism from across the political spectrum. He will run for North East mayor as an independent. 

Driscoll (below) predicted a Labour government would run into problems early on – arguing that there will no longer be an impetus to rally together to win the election if they win a majority next year.The National: MAYOR: Jamie Driscoll

He said: “Unless someone actually gets to grips with the fact that Britain is now a colony for wealth extraction, it’s not going to change and Keir Starmer’s going to be on the wrong side of that.

“I think he’s going to have a great deal of trouble with those who are not particularly ideological but do have values of fairness within them.

“Now I think Keir is 100% a manager, with no real political tradition at all. You have people like Rachel Reeves who is very bright but who has totally bought into the neoliberal economic model.

“And the combination of that is going to lead to them [...] struggling to get effective government done.

“In one sense, a bigger majority will make it hard for them because if you, suppose they have the landslide that the polls currently predict – if you’ve got 200 Labour MPs on the backbenches who, a year in are looking and thinking the polls are showing I’m out of a job, then that is not a recipe for a happy party.

“And then you’re going to hit all of the problems we’ve got. Destitution, a million children in destitution in this country. NHS waiting lists, seven million on them – how are they going to fix that? They won’t fix it."The National: Rishi Sunak

He added: “And a Labour government will be very unpopular very quickly and that worries me because of what’s going to come afterwards.”

Asked about the significance of the Gaza ceasefire vote rebellion on Wednesday – which saw 56 Labour MPs defy the whip to vote with the SNP and 10 frontbenchers quit – Driscoll said: “It’s indicative of the long-term problems he was already facing.

“His authority is entirely down to the fact that people are banding together to get rid of the Tories, but this is the result of him having to make a decision that he couldn’t cast as an argument against Sunak.

“As soon as he had to do something on his own it showed that people don’t like what he’s saying needs to be done.

“You get Labour in government, once the election’s over and done there won’t be any of this, ‘Well look, let’s just unite to get over the line.’"

He added: “All of those things are not going to do away. This is the first one that’s broken the surface."

Driscoll compared Starmer to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, notorious for his bloody purges against rivals and those disloyal to his regime.

As mayor of North Tyne, Driscoll boasts that he has seen the beginning of a new railway line in the region, a drop in unemployment and housebuilding programmes.

He argued they were achievements Starmer should be bragging about as Labour’s track record in power, instead of blocking him from the more senior mayoral role – treatment he insisted was more unfair than the anti-communist campaigns of US senator Joseph McCarthy.

Driscoll added: “Someone asked me if it was McCarthyite. I said no, under McCarthy, you got a hearing in public and a chance to refute the charges.

“It’s full-on Stalinist.”

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll is due to speak at the Break Up of Britain conference at the Assembly Halls in Edinburgh on Saturday. You can find out more about the event here.