Starmer to promise ‘decade of renewal’ under Labour government

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, as he unveils a house-building mission.

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

With critics suggesting Labour has benefited from disaffection with the Conservatives rather than a desire to see Sir Keir in No 10, aides said his speech to the party’s conference in Liverpool will answer the question: “Why Labour?”

“People are looking to us because they want our wounds to heal and we are the healers,” he will say.

“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.”

A Labour victory would give the chance to “turn our backs on never-ending Tory decline with a decade of national renewal”, he will argue, 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 built, Sir Keir will contrast the approach with Rishi Sunak’s decision to use his Conservative conference speech to axe the northern leg of HS2.

Pledging that Labour will “get Britain building”, Sir Keir will announce a “new generation” of large towns and suburbs, with Georgian-style townhouses in urban developments.

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

Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, insisted Sir Keir is not getting ahead of himself by talking about a decade of power.

“What he’s doing is he’s setting out realistically that, after 13 years of the Conservatives, it’s going to take time to turn things round,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“He is levelling with the public here.”

The senior frontbencher played down the divisions within the Labour movement after the leadership rejected renationalising energy despite members voting to back the move.

“The truth is we have a different plan, based on a different vision, which is a combination of public and private action,” he said.

Sir Keir has committed to ensuring the UK has the highest sustained economic growth in the G7 group of leading democracies as one of his “missions” for government.

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.

He will promise to devolve power to towns and cities across England, giving them the kinds of powers enjoyed by London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, the Guardian reported.

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

Labour Party Conference 2023
Labour had been buoyed by Michael Shanks’s victory in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election (Peter Byrne/PA)

“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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