Starmer to pledge 'decade of national renewal' in key Labour conference speech

By John Mercury October 10, 2023

Sir Keir Starmer will promise the country a “decade of national renewal” if Labour gets into power at the next general election.

Delivering a speech to his party’s conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Sir Keir will pledge to fight the next contest on growing the economy, saying he will be “totally focused on the interests of working people”.

And he will claim his leadership will “turn our backs on never-ending Tory decline”, to give British people the “government they deserve”.

The key speech will come on the third day of the annual event following a raft of appearances from shadow ministers, as they attempt to rally the membership ahead of the election campaign, and appeal to the public before they go to the polls.

It follows the Conservative gathering last week – dominated by the news Rishi Sunak was scrapping HS2’s northern leg to Manchester – and the Liberal Democrat event last month.

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Reiterating his five missions of “economic growth, safer streets, cheaper homegrown British power, better opportunities, and a rejuvenated NHS”, Sir Keir will warn of a tough road ahead due to the current state of the public purse.

But he will say “what is broken can be repaired”, adding: “An economy that works for the whole country will require an entirely new approach to politics: mission government, ending the Tory disease of ‘sticking plaster politics’ with a simple Labour philosophy that together we fix tomorrow’s challenges, today.”

The Labour leader will tell members: “We have to be a government that takes care of the big questions so working people have the freedom to enjoy what they love.

“More time, more energy, more possibility, more life.

“We all need the ability to look forward, to move forward, free from anxiety. That’s what getting our future back really means.”

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Sir Keir will also celebrate his party’s turnaround since the disaster of the 2019 election, with the party now leading the polls, saying: “A changed Labour Party, no longer in thrall to gesture politics, no longer a party of protest… those days are done. We will never go back.”

He will put particular focus on the latest victory in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, where his party ousted the SNP from their seat by over 9,000 votes on Thursday, saying: “Let the message from Rutherglen ring out across Britain – Labour serves working people in Scotland because Labour serves working people across all these islands.”

But the leader himself still has work to do to win over voters as polling continues to show he is not cutting through and people don’t know what he stands for.

Wordcloud about Keir Starmer. Pic: BBC
Image:
A word cloud collated for the BBC, asking people what they thought Sir Keir Starmer stood for, may not have been easy reading for the Labour leader

Addressing the public, Sir Keir will echo the words of a former Tory prime minister, promising a country “strong enough, stable enough, secure enough for you to invest your hope, your possibility, your future”, and one where people can be “certain that things will be better for your children”.

He will conclude: “People are looking to us because they want our wounds to heal and we are the healers.

“People are looking to us because these challenges require a modern state and we are the modernisers.

“People are looking to us because they want us to build a new Britain and we are the builders.”

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