Keir Starmer answers ‘why Labour?’ during conference speech

"Together we will fix tomorrow's challenges today," Starmer told the conference

Keir Starmer

Labour leader Keir Starmer delivered his keynote speech at Labour conference today, likely to be the last conference before the next general election, where he told the country that ‘the fire of change lives on within Labour’.

Starmer, who began conference recalling some of the greatest achievements of the last Labour government including the minimum wage, sure start and record low NHS waiting lists, promised a ‘decade of national renewal’.

“Together we will fix tomorrow’s challenges today,” Starmer told the conference to much applause, adding that his changed Labour Party is one of “service” – not infighting, as he pledged to reform the NHS and have more police officers on the streets.

The Labour leader sought to directly answer why people should vote for the Labour Party at the next general election. He concluded his conference speech answering that question directly, telling delegates and the wider country: “Why Labour? Because we serve your interests, because we will grow every corner of our country. Why Labour because we have a plan to take back our streets, switch on GB energy, get the NHS back on its feet and to tear down the barriers to opportunity and to get Britain building again.”

He told the conference and the country after the Labour Party’s worst electoral defeat since 1935 that the Labour Party was now a changed party ‘no longer enthralled to gesture politics, no longer a party of protest, but a party of service’.

He also addressed the events in Israel and said he “utterly condemned” the murder of women, men and children “killed in cold blood by terrorists Hamas”.

He said Labour believes in the two-state solution and that “this action by Hamas does nothing for Palestinians and Israel must always have the right to defend her people”.

The former Director of Public Prosecutions also addressed the controversial nom-dom tax status, which he says allows the richest people to avoid paying for vital services. Starmer said that by abolishing that, Labour can and will invest all that money into the NHS. This will equal “more appointments, more diagnostics and help to clear the backlog,” he added.

The Labour leader made pledges on housing, policing and devolution as he sets his sights on at least two terms in office to rescue a country “ruined” by 13 years of Conservative rule.

Starmer also vowed to build 1.5 million new homes and to build a “new generation” of large towns and suburbs, with Georgian-style townhouses favoured as the design to maximise their impact. He also announced that the Labour Party would run a six-month consultation to identify areas with “unmet housing need” suitable for new development.

In his speech to party delegates Sir Keir also proposed a “Community Policing Guarantee” – guaranteeing patrols through 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs on the streets.

He placed working people at the heart of his speech, pledging once more to smash the class ceiling which holds people back and tearing down the barriers to opportunity.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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