Sir Keir Starmer will claim a “changed” Labour can turn the UK into a “growth superpower” in his keynote conference speech – as a new poll gave the party its largest lead over the Conservatives in more than two decades.
The Labour leader will tell party delegates in Liverpool on Tuesday that Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan will create a million new jobs in towns and cities across the country, as well as bring down energy bills and raise living standards.
He will declare that under his leadership, Labour is now “the party of the centre-ground” and ready to form the next government after 12 years of the Conservatives in power.
Making his leader’s speech at the party’s annual conference, Sir Keir will pledge to “fight the Tories on economic growth” through “ambitious” and “practical” plans for jobs, skills and tackling the climate crisis.
It comes as a new poll by YouGov on Monday night revealed the party has surged to its largest lead over the Conservatives since Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 2001 – putting Labour 17 points clear of Liz Truss’s party.
The survey also reveals widespread public opposition to Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s tax-cutting mini-budget, with the decision to scrap the 45% rate of tax for those earning more than £150,000 opposed by 72% of voters – including 69% of those who backed the Conservatives in 2019.
‘Time for Britain to stand tall again’
The promising poll for Labour comes as Sir Keir prepares to commit to kicking off his ambition for growth within the first 100 days of becoming PM.
“We will require a different way of working – the biggest partnership between government, business, and communities this country has ever seen,” Sir Keir will say.
Sir Keir will contrast Labour’s plan for growth with the Conservative Party’s “shambolic” mini-budget.
The Labour leader will say his party is the party of “sound money” and will double-down on his pledge to introduce an Office for Value for Money to ensure taxpayers’ money is spent in the national interest.
“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,” Sir Keir will say.
He will add that it is “time for Britain to stand tall again”.
It is not known how long Sir Keir’s keynote speech is likely to last, but last year he spoke for around 90 minutes.
It is expected he will celebrate the changes his party has made to become more centre-ground since the tenure of Jeremy Corbyn – exemplified by the singing of the national anthem at the start of conference.
During his address, Sir Keir will say his party is the “political wing of the British people” – a direct reference to former Labour PM Mr Blair.
On the second day of Labour’s conference, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the government is putting the economy in danger and attacked Ms Truss’s plan of “trickle-down economics” after the pound sank to a record low against the dollar.
It came as a new YouGov poll found a total of 72% of voters do not have confidence in the prime minister’s plans to tackle the rising cost of living.
Ms Reeves promised a new deal for working people, with strengthened rights, saying the “minimum wage will be set at a level that reflects the real cost of living”.
She added that Labour would prioritise doubling the number of medical school places and district nurses, as well as create 10,000 more nursing and midwife places every year.
Labour’s conference will conclude on Wednesday, with the Conservative Party holding its event in Birmingham next week.