Sir Keir Starmer has vowed to “make Brexit work” before telling the people who left Labour due to the party’s handling of Brexit that, whether they voted to leave or to remain, they have been “let down”.
In his speech to his party’s annual conference, the Labour leader accused the Tories under Liz Truss of “changing the meaning of Brexit before your eyes”.
He insisted Labour will make Brexit work by making sure “we buy make and sell more in Britain” and by revitalising the public services and controlling immigration using a points-based system.
“I will spread power and opportunity to all our communities,” he told the exhibition centre in Liverpool.
Sir Keir’s comments can be seen as a way to appeal to the traditional Labour voters in the Red Wall seats who deserted the party at the 2019 general election.
The Labour leader began his section on Brexit saying “it is no secret I voted Remain – as the Prime Minister did”, which stirred a few chuckles.
He went on: “But what I heard, around the country, was people who thought we’d got our priorities wrong; who wanted democratic control over their lives but who also wanted opportunities for the next generation, communities they felt proud of, public services they could rely on.”
“I didn’t hear that Brexit was about slashing workers’ rights.
“I didn’t hear people wanting to lower standards on food, animal welfare or the environment.
“I didn’t hear them wanting to end redistribution.”
Addressing Labour’s lost voters, he said: “So I want to speak directly to the people who left Labour on this issue. Whether you voted Leave or Remain, you’ve been let down.
“And with Liz Truss, the Tories are changing the meaning of Brexit before your eyes.”
He added: “If you voted for a government to step in on your side, for better work, higher wages, more opportunities in your community, for an NHS that is modern and reliable.
“If you voted to take control of your life and for the next generation to have control of theirs, then I say to you: that is what I will deliver.
“I will make work pay for the people who create this country’s wealth.
“I will make sure we buy, make and sell more in Britain.
“I will revitalise public services and control immigration using a points-based system.
“I will spread power and opportunity to all.”
The Labour leader said his party will make “Brexit work” and “deliver change”, adding: “You will never get that from the Tories.
“And you won’t get it from the SNP either.”