Published: 28/01/2023- 17:53
Trending on GB News
Sir Keir Starmer promised Labour won't wreck Britain's economy again as he squarely put the boot in to Jeremy Corbyn.
Speaking at the London Labour conference, the 60-year-old rejected his predecessor's era of 'hate and protest' and pledged to get a grip on his party.
Starmer - who is odds-on favourite to be the next Prime Minister - said: “Our message at the next election must be that we are different to the party that Britain rejected in 2019.
“We must point to the changes we’ve made - must say, never again will Labour be a party of protest not public service.
“Never again will Labour fail to grasp that economic stability is the foundation of all our ambitions.
“Never again will Labour allow hate to spread unchallenged. We have changed our party and we’re ready to change Britain.”
Sir Keir Starmer told the London Labour Conference Jeremy Corbyn had misled the party
The Holborn and St Pancras MP, speaking on home turf in the centre of London, also told around an audience of around 600 grassroots campaigners that the work against antisemitism “never stops.”
“Let me be clear – this work never stops.
“Our commitment to fighting all forms hate and discrimination – never stops.
“‘Never again’ – never stops.
“Because if we stop for one moment then we forgo the right to change our communities, our cities, our country.
Sir Keir dwelt little on Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives directly, but hit out at lengthy NHS waiting lists, ambulance delays and the struggle to get GP appointments.
“The Tories will never give up on power. That’s not who they are. So don’t let up. No complacency. Fight for every vote.”
But - in his most Blairite speech yet - he also warned members that Labour would not be able to do all it wanted to if it gets power after the next general election.
“The lesson of the last year is stark.
“Lose control of the economy, and its businesses and working people who pick up the bill,” he said.
“We can’t let that happen, even when it puts a brake on things – good Labour things – we might like to do in power.
“Sound money in our public finances comes first,” he said.
“But at the same time, we must be bold on reform, on reconstruction, on national renewal.
“That’s what the British people expect from a Labour government – and we will deliver.”
The Conservatives branded Sir Keir “weak” following the speech.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden said: “In a week where Labour have failed to stand up to their union paymasters, made billions of unfunded spending commitments, and allowed women in their own party to be side-lined, their empty slogans ring hollow.
“Starmer is too weak and too indecisive to make the hard decisions needed to strengthen the UK.”
His speech came as Labour veteran Peter Mandelson said the party can’t be complacent - despite polls suggesting they are heading for a massive win at the next General Election.
Sir Keir leaves the hall, with Lord Mandelson clearly visible in the background
In an exclusive GB News interview he told how he felt support for Keir Starmer was growing, but this shouldn't be taken for granted.
Speaking to Paul Hawkins he said: “When we look at the opinion polls, it is sky high for Labour at the moment because of people's real heartfelt anger about the state of the country and exhausted government.
"It’s just a Cabinet full of different factions, and plotters, all of whom seem to be determined to unseat the Prime Minister or block wherever he wants to do.
"People have had enough of this. They want change. They want to be given hope of a different sort, and a better sort of Britain, that we can create with Labour."
But, Mr Mandelson warned: “But, let's not inhale the success we seem to be having at the moment. What we've got to do is to convert that real deep-seated anger that people feel about the Government into a firm voting intention for Labour when the General Election comes in what will probably be a year's time.”
Outlining the appeal he believes Keir Starmer has, he said: “What is interesting to me, is, first of all, how consistent Labour lead is. I'm very struck by the fact that since Mr Sunak took over from the disastrous Liz Truss, the Conservatives have barely recovered. So he's not had the honeymoon that people expected, the great bounce that people expected.
"And I think, increasingly people are seeing in Keir Starmer, somebody who puts country first, country before party, that's what people want to see.
“Keir Starmer is a national person. He's not an ideological person. He's got very strong values. He cares about social justice and greater fairness in our country. But in driving forward a growth agenda, he is very strongly committed to a partnership with business.
"He doesn't question the role of business in driving economic growth, but thirdly on issues of defence and national security, he is not a wobbler. This is not the Labour Party it was under Jeremy Corbyn.”