Sir Keir Starmer has said winning the next election is more important than party unity as the Labour leader prepares for his party conference speech tomorrow.
Starmer, who has spent much of the conference in Brighton trying to marginalise the left of the party, said “I didn’t come into politics to vote over and over again in parliament and lose and then tweet about it”.
Starmer spent the first two days of this year’s party conference in Brighton in factional battles with the Corbynite left of the party.
He passed changes to party rules on Sunday that will make it far harder for a left-wing candidate, like Corbyn, to become leader again.
Andy McDonald, a Corbynite, quit Starmer’s shadow cabinet on Monday in anger of the direction of the party and the fact he was told by the opposition leader he could not publicly support a £15 an hour minimum wage.
The Labour leader also said on Sunday that he would scrap a previous pledge to nationalise the UK’s big six energy firms – a key Corbyn-era policy.
Speaking to the BBC today, Starmer said: “I came into politics to go into government to change millions of lives for the better.
“And so that has to be the absolute central focus, it is for me, and it shouldn’t be for every single Labour party member and supporter.”
Starmer will tomorrow give his first speech as Labour leader to an in-person party conference, after last year’s event was virtual.
It has been said by many Labour figures that he needs to use the speech to turn around his leadership, after trailing Boris Johnson in the polls for most of this year.
He is expected to outline a raft of new policies in his speech tomorrow, after criticism that he has not set a clear agenda as Labour leader.