Great Britain

Labour conference: Keir Starmer to draw line under Corbyn years with appeal to patriotism

Sir Keir Starmer will vow to put the family and the nation’s security first, as he tries to convince voters that Labour is “under new leadership” after their rejection of Jeremy Corbyn.

In a speech designed to draw a clear line under the recent past – when Labour was attacked for lacking patriotism – the new leader will tell the public: “We love this country as you do”.

In a direct appeal to so-called red wall voters who switched to the Tories for last December’s crushing general election defeat, Sir Keir will acknowledge the tough task ahead, saying: “Trust takes time.

“It starts with being a credible opposition. With taking the job seriously. That’s what we will do. 

“So, to those people in Doncaster and Deeside, in Glasgow and Grimsby, in Stoke and in Stevenage to those who have turned away from Labour, I say this: we hear you.”

In a speech to Labour’s virtual conference, Sir Keir will add: “I ask you: take another look at Labour. We’re under new leadership.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has robbed the Labour leader of the chance to make the public sit up and take notice, robbing him of the huge attention normally lavished on a party conference speech.

Instead, there will be no audience when Sir Keir speaks in Doncaster to the online ‘Labour Connected’ event – which will also be overshadowed by Boris Johnson announcing new coronavirus restrictions.

He has already made clear his determination to focus on wooing back the lost voters from last December, saying that on Brexit the “Leave-Remain argument is now over”.

Sir Keir will describe his vision for Britain as “simple”, saying: “I want this to be the best country to grow up in and the best country to grow old in. A country in which we put family first. 

“A country that embodies the values I hold dear. Decency, fairness, opportunity, compassion and security. Security for our nation, our families and all of our communities.”

He will then touch on familiar themes with a yearning for “properly funded universal public services” and “world-class education which unleashes everyone’s potential”.

The Labour leader will call for a “huge investment in skills and a plan, working hand-in-hand with businesses and trade unions, to create high quality jobs”.

“An economy that doesn’t force people to move hundreds of miles from family and friends just to find a decent job,” he will say.

“One that truly works for all regions and nations of this United Kingdom, with opportunity and security in every part of the country and at every stage of our lives.”

Sir Keir will also call for every policy to be “judged not just by how much it costs today but by what it does for the planet tomorrow”.

The UK should be “an active force for good in the world, once again admired and respected leading the world – and leading by example – in tackling the climate emergency”.

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