Starmer eyes decade in power to ‘get Britain building’

Sir Keir Starmer will say the tide is turning towards Labour as he sets his sights on at least two terms in power to rescue a country “ruined” by 13 years of Conservative rule.

The Labour leader will promise a “decade of national renewal”, suggesting his party will be in government until the mid-2030s.

Despite his party enjoying consistent double-digit poll leads over the Tories, Sir Keir will acknowledge that some voters still need to be given a reason to back his party at the general election expected next year.

Labour Party Conference 2023
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria on the banks of the Mersey in Liverpool (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Keir will promise “a Britain strong enough, stable enough, secure enough for you to invest your hope, your possibility, your future” where “things will be better for your children”.

“People are looking to us because these challenges require a modern state and we are the modernisers.

“People are looking to us because they want us to build a new Britain and we are the builders.”

Labour would be “totally focused on the interests of working people”, he will say.

A Labour victory would give the chance to “turn our backs on never-ending Tory decline with a decade of national renewal” and give the British people the “government they deserve”.

Following shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves’ speech setting out plans to modernise Britain by reforming its “antiquated” planning system so new infrastructure gets build, Sir Keir will contrast the approach with Rishi Sunak’s decision to use his Conservative conference speech to axe the northern leg of HS2.

He will promise that Labour will “get Britain building” and “the winner this time will be working people, everywhere”.

Promising a “big build” for the country, he will say: “What is broken can be repaired, what is ruined can be rebuilt.”

He is expected to announce a “new generation” of large towns and suburbs, with Georgian-style townhouses in urban developments.

The Times reported they will be developed by state-backed companies with compulsory purchase powers, with amenities including doctors surgeries, schools and transport links “hardwired” into the plans.

A six-month consultation would identify sites for new towns with potential for high economic growth and “significant unmet housing need”.

Sir Keir will say: “An economy that works for the whole country, will require an entirely new approach to politics: mission government, ending the Tory disease of sticking plaster politics with a simple Labour philosophy that together we fix tomorrow’s challenges, today.”

In a sign that he will resist further tax rises while people’s living standards are squeezed he will tell activists: “We should never forget that politics should tread lightly on peoples’ lives, that our job is to shoulder the burden for working people – carry the load, not add to it.”

He will promise a government that “takes care of the big questions” so working people have “freedom to enjoy what they love” with “more time, more energy, more possibility, more life”.

“That’s what getting our future back really means,” he will say.

“It boils down to this: can we look the challenges of this age squarely in the eye and amidst all the change and insecurity find the hunger to win new opportunities and the strength to conserve what is precious.”

“If we want to challenge the hoarding of potential in our economy then we must win the war against the hoarders in Westminster,” he will say.

“Give power back and put communities in control.”

The Daily Mirror reported Sir Keir will “reverse the de-prioritisation of shoplifting under £200 and create a new specific offence of assault against shop workers”.

Labour began its conference buoyed by by-election success in Rutherglen and Hamilton West and insiders are hopeful of picking up dozens more seats from the SNP at the general election – something which could help Sir Keir overturn a still sizeable Tory majority in Westminster.

“For the first time in a long time we can see a tide that is turning,” Sir Keir will say. “Four nations that are renewing. Old wounds of division – exploited by the Tories and the SNP – beginning to heal.”

Sir Keir, who took over the Labour leadership from Jeremy Corbyn in the wake of the disastrous 2019 general election, will highlight the party’s transformation, saying “we will never go back” to being “in thrall to gesture politics” and “a party of protest”.

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