Sir Keir Starmer will centre his Labour party conference speech tomorrow around “family values” and British patriotism in a bid to win back lost working class voters.
Starmer will ask voters in the North and Midlands, who deserted the party at the 2019 election, to “take another look at Labour” and tell them that “we love the country as you do”.
He will also tell his party that “it’s time to get serious about winning” and that under his leadership Labour is “a credible opposition” in a pointed barb at former leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Labour’s conference this year has the tagline of “Under new Leadership” in what is a clear attempt to distance Starmer from his predecesor.
Starmer has moderated the party’s image in the first five months of his leadership with some success – the party is now neck-and-neck with the Tories in polling, after trailing by 20+ points.
Starmer’s speech on the last day of the virtual conference will try to put more daylight between him and Corbyn, who was often derided as being unpatriotic during his leadership.
Corbyn’s stance on many foreign policy issues – such as his refusal to blame Russia for the 2018 Salisbury poisoning and his historic links to the IRA – chided with many traditional Labour voters in the North and Midlands.
Starmer is expected to say tomorrow: “To those people in Doncaster and Deeside, in Glasgow and Grimsby, in Stoke and in Stevenage to those who have turned away from Labour, I say this – we hear you.
“I ask you – take another look at Labour. We’re under new leadership.
“We love this country as you do.”
Starmer will also use the speech to say that his “vision for Britain” is for it to become “the best country to grow up in and the best country to grow old in”.
He is expected to say that his priorities, if elected in 2024, would be “properly funded public services”, improved education, improved skills and training, and an economy “that truly works for all regions and nations of this United Kingdom, with opportunity and security in every part of the country”.
Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds also attempted to distance herself from the former Labour leadership in her speech today by pitching the party as pro-busines and fiscally responsible.
Dodds called out the government for being “cavalier” with public money, adding that she would “ensure that public money was always spent wisely”.