KEIR Starmer has been slammed after describing himself as a “socialist” and a “progressive”.

The Labour leader was accused of trying to be “all things to all people” following the comments, which come after he repeatedly praised Margaret Thatcher and said he does not mind being called a conservative.

Starmer has also faced intense criticism from the left of his party after ditching the lion’s share of the “ten pledges” he made during his leadership campaign – the majority of which were seen as socialist policies.

READ MORE: Labour leader Keir Starmer: I don't care if I sound conservative

However, in an interview with the BBC on Monday, Starmer insisted he was both a “socialist” and a “progressive”, adding: “I’d describe myself as somebody who always puts the country first and party second.”

Putting the country first was a key theme of his speech on Monday, his first major one of the General Election campaign, in which he also claimed he had to choose between abolishing tuition fees and providing more funding for the NHS.

He said: “I have taken a political choice, which is to say at the moment we have got to prioritise the NHS.”

Abolition tuition fees was among Starmer’s “ten pledges”, as was ending “outsourcing in the NHS”, both of which he has reneged on.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard criticised the Labour leader over the comments.

He said: “I really don't understand why Keir Starmer advisers think this is smart – because he just increasingly comes across as somebody who's trying to be all things to all people.

“He’s spent the last two years reassuring Conservative voters that they don't need to change their minds to vote for him because he's on their side and he shares their values.

“He's been silent on Brexit. He's been silent on the demonisation of migrants. He's been silent on war crimes in Gaza.”

Sheppard went on: “I mean, is there really anyone left in this country who really thinks Keir Starmer is a progressive socialist?

“I think if you started asking on progressive socialists, they would disagree with that in large numbers.”

The National:

Sheppard further pointed to comments from Starmer in which he has praised former Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher (above).

In December, the Labour leader said she had brought “meaningful change” to the UK and applauded her for “setting loose our natural entrepreneurialism”.

Sheppard said: “I think it's sick, to be honest, and I don't mean that in the way young people mean it. I think it's really sick.

“Margaret Thatcher blighted my younger life, destroyed so many communities in Scotland. She was responsible for much of the irresponsible capitalism as the rich got richer and public services were cut to the bone.

“It beggars belief. Why anyone would want to take pride, never mind endorse that record, is beyond me.”

He added: “You cannot call yourself a socialist and all that and then praise Margaret Thatcher.”