Iceland boss who donated to Tories has switched his backing to Labour

Richard Walker says Labour is better for communities and business (Picture: Rex)

The executive chairman of Iceland has thrown his weight behind Keir Starmer after quitting the Tories.

Richard Walker, whose father Sir Malcolm founded the supermarket giant, donated to the Conservatives and eventually won a spot on their list of approved candidates to run for MP.

He pulled his support for the party in October, branding them ‘out of touch’, but initially refused to back another party.

Mr Walker now says he will vote Labour at the next general election, praising Sir Keir for having ‘transformed’ the party after Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Writing in The Guardian, he said: ‘Labour is the right choice for the communities across the country where Iceland operates – and the right choice for everyone in business who wants to see this country grow and prosper.

‘I say this not because I have had a radical change of heart.

‘I say it because Labour under Keir Starmer has progressively moved towards the ground on which I have always stood, at the same time as the Conservatives have moved away from it.’

Mr Walker is backing Keir Starmer for PM (Picture: Getty)

Mr Walker previously accused the government of making things worse for business, ‘flip-flopping’ on key policies and pushing damaging ‘rhetoric’ about immigration and climate change.

He said the ‘final straw’ was Rishi Sunak’s decision to water down net zero targets, pushing back the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales from 2030 to 2035.

The businessman has actively supported Metro.co.uk’s Formula for Change campaign to make infant formula cheaper and more accessible.

In partnership with charity Feed, the partnership is calling for new laws to force retailers to accept loyalty points, vouchers and gift cards as payment for formula milk products.

Current rules class these products in the same way as tobacco and lottery tickets, meaning they can’t be bought with cash alternatives.

Last week Mr Walker revealed Iceland was ignoring a potential legal case by allowing customers to use loyalty scheme points to buy formula at their stores.

FORMULA FOR CHANGE: HOW YOU CAN HELP

Join Metro.co.uk and Feed in calling on the government to urgently review their infant formula legislation and give retailers the green light to accept loyalty points, all food bank vouchers and store gift cards as payment for infant formula.

Our aim is to take our petition to No.10 to show the Prime Minister this is an issue that can no longer be ignored.

The more signatures we get, the louder our voice, so please click here to sign our Formula for Change petition.

Things need to change NOW.

He told Metro.co.uk: ‘We didn’t consult the government before cutting costs but my legal team advised me that we faced a level five offence and an unlimited fine.

‘That was tough to hear as I have 30,000 jobs to consider. But I also had a customer base who were struggling in the current cost of living crisis.’

Iceland previously said it had slashed baby milk formula prices by 20% and claims to make no profit on such products.

But prices of even the cheapest brands are 45% higher in supermarkets than they were two years ago.

Iceland is among five major supermarkets which have recently promised to pass a 7% retail price cut by the makers of Aptamil formula onto customers.

Morrisons is now allowing customers to use vouchers from Healthy Start, an NHS scheme for women who are pregnant or have young children and are receiving benefits.

Mr Walker’s endorsement was endorsed by Sir Keir, who was due to visit an Iceland store on Monday to meet staff and shoppers.

The Labour leader said: ‘The work that he and his colleagues at Iceland have done to help customers through the cost of living crisis has been commendable.

‘With Labour, shoppers and shop workers will get a fair deal. We’ll tackle the cost of living crisis, get Britain’s economy growing again and get our country’s future back.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *