Keir Starmer to call Labour 'party of the British people' in Liverpool conference speech

Sir Keir Starmer preparing for his speech in his hotel room in Liverpool. Credit: PA

Sir Keir Starmer will quote Sir Tony Blair as he dubs Labour the "political wing of the British people" at his party's annual conference in Liverpool on Tuesday.

The Labour leader will commit to getting Britain out of an "endless cycle of crisis" with a "fresh start", accusing the Tories of losing control of the economy and the centre ground.

“We should never be left cowering in a brace position, worrying about how to get through a winter. It’s time for Britain to stand tall again,” he will say.

In his speech, he will outline an ambition to “turn the UK into a growth superpower” as he argues Labour is the true party of financial responsibility.

The Conservative Party has long claimed this title for itself, but its reputation for economic competence is breaking apart as the pound slumps to a record low against the dollar.

Sir Keir Starmer visits Liverpool University's Energy Centre while in town for the party conference. Credit: PA

Liz Truss' new Tory government has unveiled what is being described as the country's biggest raft of tax cuts since 1972 in a bid to drive economic growth.

But government debt continues to pile up, and markets have been spooked by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng using more than £70 billion of increased borrowing to fund his tax cuts.

Meanwhile the country is still struggling with rampant inflation, with the Bank of England saying it "won't hesitate" to raise interest rates further to prop up the value of sterling.

All of this economic turmoil has played into the hands of Sir Keir, who will argue Labour is now the party of "sound money" who will ensure taxpayers' cash is spend in the national interest.

Sir Keir will argue that Labour is now the party of financial responsibility. Credit: PA

But his direct quoting of Sir Tony, the last Labour leader to win a general election, also seeks to put further distance between himself and his immediate predecessor Jeremy Corbyn.

Sir Tony referred to New Labour as the “political wing of the British people” ahead of his landslide 1997 election victory.

The centrist leader spearheaded a departure from the party being described as the political wing of the union movement. A Labour spokesman said echoing Sir Tony is an intentional move to show the party is “back in the centre ground” and in the “mainstream” of public opinion.

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“Ultimately he wants to be the next Labour leader who takes the party from opposition into government,” the spokesman said. He accepted Sir Keir has overhauled the party to distance it from the one led to two general election defeats under Mr Corbyn, who is sitting as an independent MP.

“We’ve changed the party to make sure we’re in tune with the instincts and aspirations of the British people once again,” the spokesman said.

One of the changes to the party he was noting was how he opened the party’s conference with a tribute to the Queen in the form of singing the national anthem. Sir Keir’s strategy to boost growth includes a green prosperity plan to create one million new jobs in towns and cities across the country.

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He was committing to begin this mission, to also include bringing down energy bills, raising living standards and tackling the climate crisis, within 100 days of forming a government. To achieve this, he will say, requires “a different way of working”, developing “the biggest partnership between government, business and communities this country has ever seen”. Sir Keir will argue “we cannot afford to miss out” on the opportunity to lead the world in renewable energy, electric vehicles and harnessing new hydrogen power.

Sir Kier was set to attack the Conservatives on the economy by saying: “What we’ve seen from the government in the past few days has no precedent. “They’ve lost control of the British economy – and for what? For tax cuts for the richest one per cent in our society.”

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The Labour spokesman argued the party would borrow less than the Tories, but conceded it is accepting a higher level of borrowing than before the Chancellor's mini-budget last Friday. Sir Keir is pledging to reverse the abolition of the top rate of tax for the nation’s wealthiest, but was supporting the reduction of the bottom rate to 19p in the pound. Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has said her fiscal rules set out that increased borrowing is permitted during national emergencies.

In her party conference speech on Monday, she said Ms Truss' government has "lost credibility" on the economy and said its strategy of cutting tax for the wealthy won't benefit most people.

"A return to trickle-down economics - an idea that has been tried, has been tested and has failed," she said.

Ms Reeves added: "Under these Tories, those with the broadest shoulders carry the lightest load. Not by accident, but by choice," she said. “It is time for a government that is on your side.”