Keir Starmer promises to "fight for you" as he sets out Labour's vision for renewal
Keir Starmer promised a “decade of renewal” if Labour get into government at the next general election, pledging to build 1.5m homes over the next five years and be a party of “service” rather than “protest”.
As Starmer began to deliver his speech to Labour party conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, he was interrupted by a protester who threw glitter over the party leader’s head.
Once the protester was taken away by security, Starmer – still covered in glitter – went on to say that Labour would prioritise “renewal” over “gesture politics”.
The Labour leader echoed the Prime Minister's conference speech last week pitching his own party as a vehicle for change, addressing voters concerns about the impact of tough economic conditions. But Starmer otherwise struck a significantly different tone.
He put building, development of infrastructure, growing business and workers rights at the heart of his pledge for a "mission driven" government if Labour wins the next election, which is due to be called before the end of 2024.
"I’ve felt the anxiety of a cost of living crisis before, and until your family can see out, I will fight for you,” Starmer promised.
Labour has set a target of building 1.5m homes over the next five years, which he said would mark a “next generation of Labour new towns”.
Starmer said this would not mean “tearing up the green belt”, and insisted that energy, water and transport infrastructure, schools and health services would be "hardwired into plans".
Starmer suggested he expected Labour to win not just the next general election, but also win another term in government thereafter and oversee a “decade of renewal”.
“That’s the real Britain, millions of people who have looked at the Tory circus and said 'fine we’ll get on with it ourselves',” he said.
“I say let’s stand with them, give them the government they deserve, turn our backs on never-ending Tory decline with a decade of national renewal.”
Starmer emphasised the need for long term solutions to issues such as declining health and the crumbling NHS.
“The point of the NHS is to be a solution, but the Conservative Party has brought it "to its knees,” he said.
"We have got to get it back on its feet. If all we do is place the NHS on a pedestal then I’m afraid it will remain on life support.
“There’s no option, we must be the government that finally transforms our NHS.”
With the likelihood of inheriting a difficult economic picture, Starmer stressed the need to “make government more dynamic”, adding that “it’s not about size, it’s about capacity, a more powerful engine, not a bigger car”.
The Labour leader urged disillusioned Tory voters to switch to Labour instead, accusing the Tory party of a “descent into the murky waters of populism and conspiracy”.
Starmer insisted the party had “changed” and received a standing ovation for saying Labour had “ripped anti-semitism out by the roots”.
Reporting from our sister website, Politics Home.