Labour needs to rediscover its "pride and patriotism" in Britain to win back disaffected working-class voters, Keir Starmer has said.
As the party launched its virtual conference, the new leader declared he was "proud of being patriotic" and suggested that feeling reflected Labour values.
His aides want to draw a line under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn whose patriotism was often questioned by critics.
Mr Starmer told Times Radio: "I think in the Labour party we’ve been very shy about patriotism for too many years.
"I love my country, I think we’re a great country, I think we could be even better, and I think the Labour party, the Labour movement, actually wants the very best for the country.
"That’s why we go out knocking on doors, campaigning, trying to form the next government, because we want better for our country."
He added: "We should not be so shy, we should be proud of being patriotic, and in many senses that reflects the values of the Labour party."
Mr Starmer, who said he watched the Queen's Speech live at Christmas, has been keen to 'wrap himself in the union jack' and distance himself from his predecessor's position on Russia and national security since he took over as leader in April.
But Unite union boss Len McCluskey warned him not to stray too far from the Corbyn era on policies.
"I’m not worried at the moment but of course we will review the situation,” he said.
Mr Starmer's deputy Angela Rayner warned that some firms were unpatriotic by undermining workers' rights in response to the coronavirus crisis.
"Mass firing, and re-hiring, on lower pay and worse terms, using the threat of the dole queue to pick the pockets of the very staff who have kept those companies going," she said.
"So I say to companies like British Airways and British Gas. If you use our country’s name, then you better respect our country’s values.
"And if they won’t end fire and rehire, it’s time the government stepped up and ended it for them."
Mr Starmer also stressed it was in Britain's national interest to get a Brexit trade deal - and that there was no need to delay the transition period beyond the end of the year.
"The Prime Minister promised us there was an 'oven-ready' deal and he needs to get on and deliver on that promise," he told Sky News.
"If he fails to do so, then he owns that failure and the distraction, frankly, of reopening old wounds, going back on agreements that have been made, is a distraction.
"It's in the national interest to get a deal."
Mr Starmer, who revealed for the first time that he was a vegetarian but missed bacon sandwiches, left the door open to backing any deal the Government secures.