In Full: Keir Starmer gives Labour's New Year message
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Looking to further distance himself from Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader pledged to be “deeply patriotic” and create “a contract” with the British people “worthy of the fine nation in which we live”. After years of questions accusations the Labour party despised Britain under the Islington North MP’s leadership, Sir Keir sought to make a passionate case for the United Kingdom.
“The Labour party is a deeply patriotic party. Keir Hardie once said that British socialism must ‘wear a local garb’,” he said addressing local businesses and the media at a press conference in Birmingham.
Flanked by two Union Jack flags he added: “Three chapters of change – Attlee, Wilson and Blair – made Britain a better country.
“We must be the people who write the fourth chapter.
“The people who create a new Britain in the twenty first century.”
And he said that while support for the Tories had collapsed in recent weeks, the Opposition should not take for granted it would mean a surge in support for themselves.
Despite polls suggesting a tight race between the Conservatives and Labour in the 2019 election, Mr Corbyn led the socialist party to its worst result since the 1930s.
After months of struggling to cut through with voters, Sir Keir’s Labour has been repeatedly been ahead in voting intention among Brits since the start of December.
The Holborn and St Pancras MP has also led Boris Johnson in a number of surveys for who would be the best Prime Minister.
Cautious about the poll leads, he said: “I am well aware that just because the Tories lose the public’s trust, it doesn’t mean Labour simply inherits it.
“Trust has to be earned.
“I am confident but not complacent about the task ahead.”
Sir Keir is hoping today’s speech setting out his vision for a future Labour government will further help boost the party’s standing among voters.
He attempted to relaunch his leadership on multiple occasions during 2021 to no avail.
For months he was accused of flailing in the polls and being too focused on internal party fights.
The Labour leader reshuffled his Cabinet shortly before Christmas in order to bring in the team he hopes can win the next general election.
It saw the return of political heavyweights such as Yvette Cooper who was made shadow home secretary and ousted Cat Smith, the last remaining Corbynite on the frontbench.
Sir Keir said he will hold a series of events across the country “in the coming months” to “persuade people to sign up” to his vision of a “new Britain”.
He has repeatedly grumbled since taking on the top job that the pandemic has stopped him from being able to hold in-person events and connect with the public.
The former lawyer said: “I have a very clear idea of what a Labour government would look like.
“And, in 2022, I want to take my plans to the British people.”
Sir Keir added: “I want to create a contract defined by security, prosperity and respect.”
More to follow…
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