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Former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has said he believes Keir Starmer is "better prepared" for Government than Tony Blair was ahead of the 1997 General Election.

This comes as the latest YouGov polling places Labour at 37 per cent, with the Tories falling behind at 18 per cent and Nigel Farage's Reform UK one point ahead of them with 19 per cent.

Speaking to Camilla Tominey on GB News, Hoon also responded to claims that Boris Johnson could "make a return" to the Conservatives campaign ahead of July's election and urged the party not to "beg" for the former Prime Minister to come back.

Noting the "damage" both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss caused to the British people, Hoon told Camilla: "One thing that cuts through on the streets are people not wanting to see a return of either Boris Johnson or Liz Truss.

"They have been hurt and damaged badly by the extreme policies that the Conservative Party pursued. And it's not something that you expect to get when you knock on doors, but it's come through very, very strongly in this campaign."

Criticising Sunak's reported efforts to get Johnson back, Hoon fumed: "I just don't see how the Conservatives begging Boris to return can do them any good other than perhaps shoring up in safe seats already."

Turning the discussion to Keir Starmer's election chances, Hoon claimed that the Labour leader's "caution" in his campaign so far has left him with a "degree of competence" going into the ballot.

Hoon told GB News: "I think Starmer demonstrates a degree of caution which the British people welcome. I think he demonstrates a degree of competence, which after recent Prime Ministers is something that most people welcome.

"People have said to me 'he's not exciting enough’, but then on the doorstep people said, well, we've had excitement. We've had people on zip wires flying around, falling off and not making it to the end."

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Offering support for Starmer, Hoon said the Labour leader can give Britain "stability" following the Tory "disasters" such as Liz Truss's time in office.

Hoon explained: "The reality is, I think people are looking for a degree of stability, which I think he exemplifies.

"And of course, one of the advantages that Keir Starmer has is that he has run, in effect, a Government department. He's taken some really difficult decisions as DPP, so I don't think he'll be fazed by Government."

Comparing Starmer to Tony Blair, Hoon admitted he "strongly supported" the former Prime Minister and was "privileged to be part of the Government" he ran.

Hoon told Camilla: "I strongly supported Tony Blair, I was privileged to be part of the Government.

"I think Starmer’s given some explanations for supporting Corbyn already. But the reality is, all of these things were said about Tony Blair before 1997.

"And the reality is he demonstrated what a great Prime Minister he was. But it took him time. He also has written that the first 12 months or so were very difficult. I actually think Keir Starmer is better prepared than we were in 1997."

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