Ahead of Labour’s annual conference starting today in Liverpool, the Labor leader has boldly declared he has “raised” the party from the canvas.
Speaking to Laura Kuensberg on Sunday, Sir Keir Starmer said: “Over the last two years I have taken the Labor party, lifted it off the canvas, put it on its feet, changed the party, made it open. For this, we had to do very harsh things that were unpopular in the party.”
Backing the party’s progress, which many can also relate to the subsequent difficulties faced by Boris Johnson’s government, Sir Keir said: “Something has happened in the Labor Party this year in that the hope for a Labor government has turned into a belief in a Labor government. And that switch is worth its weight in gold.”
Sir Keir’s optimism about the future of the Labor Party underlines the changes in British politics that have taken place over the past 12 months. Sir Keir’s own leadership was heavily criticized at last year’s Labor conference and the Conservatives remained ahead in the polls. Labor now enjoys an opinion poll of around 8%.
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Taking a belligerent approach to those in the labor movement who argue he should show more solidarity with union workers currently on strike, Sir Keir said: “My job as a Labor leader is not the same as a trade union leader. My task is to make sure that we bring the Labor Party from the opposition, where we can only talk, but not do, to power, where we can do something.”
Criticizing the government’s recent so-called mini-budget, Sir Keir confirmed that Labor would reverse the cut in the top rate of income tax. However, he confirmed his support for the Government’s decision to reverse the recent rise in National Insurance and backed their plan to reduce the basic rate of income tax to 19p.
Sir Keir also set out an ambition for all the UK’s electricity to come from carbon-free sources by 2030, saying a future Labor government would “double onshore wind, triple solar and quadruple offshore wind”.
Sir Keir is due to address the Labor conference at 2pm on Tuesday. His deputy Angela Rayner will speak at the conference today.
Among other developments at the Liverpool conference this week, former leader Jeremy Corbyn is set to speak at a side event on Tuesday night. The conference is also expected to vote on proportional representation, nationalization of the energy industry and the repeal of all legislation that prohibits strikes.
A so far “unknown” international speaker is scheduled to speak at the conference on Wednesday.