Paul Weller shares his views on Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak: ‘The fact he’s a Sir puts me off a little bit’

Paul Weller has branded Sir Keir Starmer a “slightly softer version of the Tory party”, as he says he fails to see much difference between the Labour leader and prime minister Rishi Sunak.

The British rocker, 66, reflected on the forthcoming general election on 4 July, which was called by Sunak in May, as he expressed his doubts over Starmer’s values.

“He’s just a slightly softer version of the Tory party, isn’t he?” the musician told The Big Issue.

“He’d be well served to remember who built the Labour party, trade unions and communists. So, I don’t see much difference between him and Sunak and all that mob. The fact that he’s a Sir puts me off a little bit in the first place.”

Weller, who recently released his 17th solo album 66, also shared his concern over the issue of homelessness in London, which he explores in his new music video, “I Woke Up”.

“With the matter of homelessness, it’s: ‘How do you fix this?’ You can’t just keep moving people off and to another area,” he said.

“It’s sweeping it under the carpet. Why don’t we try and fix it? I’m not saying it’s an easy thing to fix.”

Paul Weller’s new music video tackles the issue of homelessness in London (Getty Images)
Paul Weller’s new music video tackles the issue of homelessness in London (Getty Images)

He added: “Some of the homeless people round my way, some I chat to, it’s a mixture of things - some people have definitely got mental problems and they should be helped and looked after, some people have drug problems and could go through a programme.

“But then you need a support system so that once they go through that programme they can’t go back on the streets. They need work to help stop that. But that’s in an ideal world. Because of all the cuts, that’s not going to happen. It’s f***ed.”

The black and white music video for the song follows a day in the life of a homeless man in London. It ends with a call to help St Mungo’s, a charity that helps to provide rough sleepers with a safe bed for the night.

It was partly filmed where the old homeless settlement known as “cardboard city” stood, near Waterloo Station between the late 1970s and 1990s.

Weller, who rose to fame in the late Seventies with his band The Jam, later enjoying success with The Style Council in the Eighties before embarking on a solo career, is known for his forthright views on politics and social issues.

Paul Weller branded Starmer a ‘softer version of the Tory party’ (Getty)
Paul Weller branded Starmer a ‘softer version of the Tory party’ (Getty)

In a recent conversation with The Guardian, he hit out at the ongoing attacks by Israel on Gaza, and appeared to condemn the government over arms exports to Israeli forces.

“Am I against genocides and ethnic cleansing? Yes I am, funnily enough,” he said.

He continued: “I can’t understand why more people aren’t up in arms about what’s going on. We should be ashamed of ourselves, I think.

“One minute you’re supplying bullets and bombs and guns, and then you’re sending over food. How does that work?”

Israel has vehemently denies allegations that it is carrying out a genocide and insists that it has the right to defend itself from Hamas, following the terrorist attacks on 7 October.

Elsewhere in his interview, Weller lashed out at the “corruptness and cronyism, and the lies and deceit” he sees in most UK politicians.

“They’re supposed to be your betters, your leaders,” he said. “But they’ve been selling off the periphery of the NHS for years and let it fall into disrepair, and it’s going to get eaten away and eaten away until it’s off their hands, and it’s all privatised.

“And that’s one of our crown jewels, the NHS. It’s supposed to be ours, we all pay for it. It’s a total piss-take... People are getting to that point where they think, ‘You’ve just got to do it for yourself.’ Whether that’s a revolution or not, I don’t know.”

Additional reporting by Press Association