KEIR Starmer has come under heavy fire after a “car crash” interview on the BBC.

The Labour leader has been criticised for telling Andrew Marr that he would not seek to renationalise energy companies if elected prime minister - despite having been elected to lead his party on a specific commitment to do so.

Asked if he would nationalise the big six energy companies, Starmer replied: “No.”

The BBC presenter then confronted the Labour leader with one of the “ten pledges” he made before being elected to the position.

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“Public services should be in public hands not making profits for shareholders. Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy, and water”, it read.

Starmer claimed there was a “world of difference” between that pledge and nationalisation, adding: “I don’t see nationalisation there.”

Criticism was levelled at Starmer from within his own party for breaking the pledge.

Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott shared the promise Starmer had signed ahead of his election, commenting: “Campaigning for the leadership of @UKLabour Keir Starmer said he was in favour of common ownership. It was one of his ten pledges. Everyone assumed he meant nationalisation. But on Andrew Marr this morning Starmer denied supporting any such thing.”

Politico’s Alex Wickham shared a video from the Labour leadership election campaign in which Starmer raised his hand when asked if he supported “renationalising water and electricity”.

The journalist said the video would be “tricky” for Starmer, given his claim that his pledge to put such services “in public hands” had not amounted to nationalisation.

Speaking to Marr, the Labour leader also distanced himself from his deputy, Angela Rayner, after she refused to retract comments calling Tory MPs “scum”.

He said that he and Rayner “take different approaches and that is not language that I would have used”, but declined to be drawn in on whether or not she should apologise.

Commenting on the exchange, the SNP’s Ian Blackford said: “My goodness on #marr @Keir_Starmer distances himself from his deputy.

“@AndrewMarr9 surely can’t believe the easy hits he is getting. With a cost of living crisis Labour have made this conference all about their differences. Massive fail.”

He added: “The Tories have ushered in a cost of living crisis, there is a need for leadership yet on #marr @Keir_Starmer is crashing and burning.

“Are you watching Scotland, there is another way. Perhaps it should be taxi for Starmer but more importantly taxi for Scotland to a better place.”

Starmer also floundered when asked questions about bringing in an income tax rise.

Rachel Reeves, his shadow chancellor, told the Sunday Times Labour would not raise tax, while Starmer claimed they were not currently considering it, but may well do so before the next General Election.

National contributor Lesley Riddoch called Starmer’s appearance on the Marr Show “prickly, defensive and evasive”, adding: “Starmer's car crash interview on #Marr poses Scots progressives with a real challenge.

“This man will not win the next election for Labour. So does it really make sense to keep opposing #indyref2?”

The interview comes at a bad time for Starmer, with the Labour conference currently taking place in Brighton and rumours that his keynote speech could be his last “unless polls improve”, according to journalist Paul Mason.

“The Wednesday speech would have to be a humdinger, with surprise concrete commitments, to cut through the miasma of bitterness and self-obsession at this conference”, Mason added.

Commenting, the SNP’s Rona Mackay said: “Keir Starmer’s evasive and defensive interview managed to encapsulate all of Labour’s problems in a nutshell – division, acrimony and a complete lack of vision to build a fairer society.

“As has been the case for years, Labour are more interested in fighting amongst themselves than fighting the cruel Tory policies which are wreaking so much misery on the most vulnerable in our society, and the chaos that the Tory Brexit has unleashed on our economy.

“The truth is that Labour are further from power than ever – leaving open the prospect of Scotland continuing to be governed for years and years by Tory governments that we don’t vote for.”