Keir Starmer slams the door on Jeremy Corbyn: Labour leader vows party will be back in business and insists winning an election is more important than unity in bid to ditch the hard Left
In his first big conference speech, he will vow that under his leadership ‘Labour will be back in business’.
Allies said his message to the country will show how the party has changed since Mr Corbyn – at that time backed by Sir Keir – led it to electoral disaster in 2019.
As he attempts to present Labour as a credible government-in-waiting, he will tell supporters: ‘Too often in the history of this party our dream of the good society falls foul of the belief that we will not run a strong economy.
‘But you don’t get one without the other. And under my leadership we are committed to both. I can promise you that under my leadership Labour will be back in business.’
In his first big conference speech, Keir Starmer will slam the door shut on the Jeremy Corbyn era as he declares winning the next election is more important than party unity
Sir Keir, who served in Jeremy Corbyn’s (centre) shadow cabinet, said the former Labour leader would not have the party whip reinstated unless he apologised for his claim that the extent of Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis had been overstated
A source said the hour-long speech, which will be his most personal to date, will be ‘noticeably different from what you’ve heard from Labour in recent years’ and will be ‘more optimistic, more focused on the future, more outward looking’.
‘It will be a clear indication that Labour will never again go into an election with a manifesto that isn’t a serious plan for government,’ the insider added.
Trying to capitalise on the current fuel crisis, Sir Keir will describe the Government as ‘lost in the woods’.
He believes voters who had given Mr Johnson the benefit of the doubt are now concerned about his competence.
Sir Keir’s first in-person conference has been overshadowed by rows over party rule changes, splits with his deputy Angela Rayner, and the surprise resignation of shadow cabinet minister Andy McDonald who accused him of making the party ‘more divided than ever’
A Labour spokesman said: ‘We know the shine is coming off Boris Johnson, we know that we are in a situation where there are serious questions around the competency of the Government, its ability to deliver. So therefore what we will be using the speech to do is to show that these are serious times that require a serious leader, and that is Keir Starmer.
‘What we will be doing in between now and the next election is making sure that we’re setting out the policies that we’re going to stand on.
‘And when we do so they will be costed, affordable, practical, and that’s the type of party that we’ll have.’
Sir Keir’s first in-person conference has been overshadowed by rows over party rule changes, splits with his deputy Angela Rayner, and the surprise resignation of shadow cabinet minister Andy McDonald who accused him of making the party ‘more divided than ever’. But in a round of broadcast interviews last night, he shrugged off Mr McDonald’s criticism. Sir Keir told BBC News: ‘My focus is on how we get Labour into a position to win a general election.
‘Two years ago, we were here in Brighton for our Labour Party conference. And within a few short months, we’d crashed to the worst general election results since 1935. I am not prepared to let that happen.
‘And if that means tough decisions, to change our party, then I’m going to take those tough decisions.
‘There will be some people who don’t agree with those changes. I understand that, we’re a broad church in the Labour Party. But I’m not going to be deflected from my central mission, which is to get a Labour government so we can change it live.’
Asked what was more important to him – winning or unity – Sir Keir replied: ‘Winning. Winning a general election.’
Asked what was more important to him – winning or unity – he replied: ‘Winning. Winning a general election.’
Sir Keir said Mr Corbyn would not have the Labour whip reinstated unless he apologised for his claim that the extent of the party’s anti-Semitism crisis had been overstated. ‘It has been going on for months and the ball is in Jeremy’s court,’ he told BBC News. ‘Jeremy was asked to apologise to take down the post that caused the problem the first place and to work with us.’
Despite his criticism of Mr Corbyn, Sir Keir served in his shadow cabinet and stood on his 2019 election manifesto.