Has Liverpool set Labour on the road to Downing Street?

"We're going to do it, we're going to win and we're going to change Britain".

Safe to say Labour is leaving Liverpool on a high.

The Shadow Levelling Up Secretary Lisa Nandy is just one of the gleeful voices reacting to the Labour Leader's keynote speech at their party conference.

The faint hope that Sir Keir Starmer may be the next Prime Minister, has turned into a genuine belief here:

Lucy Powell, the MP for Manchester Central and Shadow DCMS Secretary, tells me a similar tale.

"We're going to create good jobs in every party of the country using the transition that's happening anyway and using this moment to do it," she says.

"Somebody asked me earlier in the week, 'Is Keir Starmer exciting?', and I think he just answered that - he is!"

The verdict is Keir Starmer gave a polished and careful performance - confident he is on a very different footing to this time last year.

Then, it was a party on the defensive - and the Labour Leader knew it - when hecklers tried to show him the red card during his keynote speech in Brighton, he had the comebacks ready to go.

No need for that in Liverpool - both the speech, and the minute's silence for the Queen (arguably a more vulnerable moment) went off without a hitch.

David Cameron once advised Labour to "put on a suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem", this is Labour with a new look.

Because party conferences are very much the opposite of actual parties - you want them to be boring.

Think back to last year, when Labour gathered in Brighton, and there were a few too many moments of drama which meant Keir Starmer wasn't exactly the star of his own conference.

From the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham proving a hugely popular King of the Fringe, to the headlines the Ashton-under-Lyne MP Angela Rayner generated over the so-called "Scum gate", it was a party that presented a split narrative.

This year, just one moment of controversy - hastily dealt with:

So the Leader of the Opposition's team will be looking back on the last few days as a success, but really, the work starts now.

Party conferences don't mean much on their own - he was preaching to the already converted.

Sir Keir Starmer might confidentially declare that "this is a Labour moment", but his path to Downing Street runs through the North West, and the marginal constituencies he'll have to win back all across the red wall.

That might be a greater challenge than rallying his own troops.

It's a conference that has been full of North West faces - where the party will need to regain seats. Credit: PA Images

It’s always difficult for an opposition leader to cut through - even among the challenging headlines the Government have faced in recent days.

Because it's not enough for your opponents to lose a General Election - you have to win it as well.

And even here in Liverpool, solidly a Labour heartland, some are starting to lose heart.

We went to the Paper Cup Project, whose coffee shop is run as a not for profit to support the city's homeless population.

There, both customers and the project's CEO said they needed to see a bold, big vision from Keir Starmer before they'd believe he had the personality to take the party where it wants to go:

So the policies Labour have outlined in the last few days will have to land in seats like Bury, Bolton, Warrington, and Blackpool if this high is to last.

But Chris Hopkins, a Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes, reckons they could do it, if they can reverse the inroads made by Boris Johnson.

He says: "Labour can't afford complacent, they do have to present a credible alternative to Government, but they will benefit from the dividing lines the current Conservative Government is putting out there."

Conservatives are headed to their Party Conference in Birmingham in the coming days, a chance to bring the party together after a challenging few days with the economy.

It will be interesting to see how they position themselves against this newly emboldened Labour.

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