Starmer: New leadership listening to Tory voters

20 September 2020, 15:27

Labour Leader Keir Starmer Visits Scotland
Labour Leader Keir Starmer Visits Scotland. Picture: Getty

By Joe Cook

Sir Keir Starmer has stressed his party need to listen to those who no longer vote Labour, if they are to re-enter government after four lost elections and over a decade of opposition.

As the Labour Party’s virtual party conference gets underway, Sir Keir insisted that under his leadership the party are recognising the scale of their December 2019 election defeat and are working to tackle anti-Semitism.

Speaking to Sky News, the Labour leader said: "We are making it clear we're a new leadership and that means being absolutely clear about recognising the scale of the defeat last December.

"That was devastating for the Labour Party, devastating for the Labour movement and for the millions of people who desperately needed a Labour government.

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"So, recognising that, listening to those that no longer vote Labour, and I've spent the last six months listening and asking for conversations with people that are difficult rather than easy, and changing and focusing on the future.

"That means difficult decisions like tackling anti-Semitism. So, a new leadership focused on 2024, but absolutely recognising the scale of the task we face."

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At the first Labour Party conference under the new leadership, Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said the Government’s “serial incompetence” is holding the country back.

In her virtual address Rayner said: "Over the next three days, we will show what we can achieve with a new leadership for our party and for our country.

"At this time of national crisis, we are offering the country the leadership it needs. We will act in the best interests of the British people and in our shared mission to defeat this terrible virus."

"We will call this failing government out for its serial incompetence that is holding Britain back."

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Other senior Labour figures at the conference also stressed the party’s theme that Boris Johnson’s government is “incompetent”.

Mayor of London Sadiq khan said: “Just when we required a steady, capable hand on the tiller, we've had a hapless government that keeps on steering us onto the rocks.”

Mr Khan described the government’s response to the coronavirus as “incompetence, incompetence, incompetence”, claiming Labour “is now the party of competence”.

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham accused the Government of failing in their “levelling up” agenda.

“Levelling up is supposedly the central theme of this government but it is slowly being exposed as a myth. We have been levelled down this year, they are putting communities under local lockdown in the north of England with no support at all,” Mr Burnham said.