• Tuesday, June 18, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

You can now trust Labour: Starmer

British opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer gives a keynote speech during a Labour party general election campaign event in Lancing, Britain, May 27, 2024. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska

By: Shajil Kumar

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has assured that people can trust his party to safeguard the country’s economy, borders and security.

In his first major speech since the general election was called, Starmer vowed to fight for the people and put ‘country first, party second’.

While addressing a rally in the seaside town of Lancing on Monday (27), Starmer claimed he has transformed the Labour party and sought to allay the perception that it is soft on defence and security issues, when compared with the Conservatives.

Starmer took over as Labour leader in 2020 from staunch socialist Jeremy Corbyn and has been trying to position the party as a centrist force.

Despite a consistent lead in the opinion polls, Starmer acknowledged that many voters were not fully persuaded about his party.

“I know there are countless people who haven’t decided how they’ll vote in this election. They’re fed up with the failure, chaos and division of the Tories, but they still have questions about us: has Labour changed enough?

“Do I trust them with my money, our borders, our security? My answer is yes, you can, because I have changed this party permanently,” he said.

He assured that he will create a “Britain once more in the service of working people. Country first, party second.”

Starmer remarked that economic security, border security and national security is crucial for good governance. “This is the foundation, the bedrock that our manifesto and our first steps, will be built upon,” he added.

He also spoke at length about his working-class background and the hard times he faced while growing up in the 1970s in Oxted, Surrey.

He said his father was a toolmaker and his mother a nurse. He was the first in his family to go to university.

He said while growing up he knew what an ‘out of control inflation’ was like. “The rising cost of living can make you scared of the postman coming down the path: ‘will he bring another bill we can’t afford?’”

Starmer said that prime minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement on Sunday that all 18-year-olds in Britain will have to perform national service was a desperate move to shore up the Conservative party’s sagging electoral fortune.

Reacting to Starmer’s speech, Sunak said in a post on the social media platform X, “There is ‘not a single plan for the future.”

Conservative Party chairman Richard Holden too said that Starmer’s speech had “no policy, no substance, and no plan”.

Voters on July 4 will elect lawmakers to fill all 650 seats in the House of Commons.

Pollsters have given Labour party a lead, but the leaders are wary as they have already lost four consecutive elections, in 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019.

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