Sir Keir Starmer aims to smash 'blue wall' by winning over Conservative voters in the South

WATCH: The Labour leader speaks to ITV News Meridian on a visit to West Sussex

Sir Keir Starmer has revealed his plan to target “traditional Conservative voters” in the South of England ahead of the next general election.

The Labour leader said he hopes the party will break through the so-called ‘blue wall’ of Tory constituencies in the region on polling day.

In an interview with ITV News, he appealed “directly to those who have never voted Labour before” to “vote for change”.

Sir Keir was speaking today on a visit to a train maintenance depot in Crawley, West Sussex.

The constituency currently has a Conservative MP, Henry Smith, who has announced that he will stand down at the next election – expected to be held this year.

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Sir Keir told ITV News: “The number one issue here is, of course, the cost of living crisis. We'll only fix that if we fix our economy.

“I'm determined to do that so that every place across the country, particularly here in the South East where I grew up, benefits from higher living standards.”

Asked if Labour will break through the Conservative’s ‘blue wall’ in the South, like the Tories won seats in Labour’s Northern ‘red wall’ in 2019, Sir Keir replied: “I hope so.”

He added: “I would appeal directly to those that didn't vote for Labour last time at the general election in 2019, maybe have never voted Labour before - traditional conservative voters.”

Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, and shadow work and pensions secretary, Liz Kendall, tour the Three Bridges train depot in Crawley. Credit: PA Images

Sir Keir told ITV News: “The country's crying out for change, nobody feels that they're better off under this government.

“The Tories have failed, 14 years and nobody feels better off. If you want change, vote for change, and then we can bring about the change that you so desperately need.”

The leader of the opposition was accompanied by the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Liz Kendall, on the tour of the Three Bridges train maintenance facility operated by Siemens.

Sir Keir met staff who maintain trains used on Thameslink routes to discuss policies to support the long-term sick back to work.