Starmer warns against ‘complacency’ but says Labour has ‘changed’
Sir Keir Starmer has offered a sober message to party members, warning that action against antisemitism can never cease as he positioned Labour as the party of “sound” money.
The Labour leader was welcomed with whoops, cheers and a standing ovation as he arrived for the London Labour conference on Saturday, but used a speech to warn the party against “complacency” as he pointed to the changes under his leadership.
With around two years to go until the next general election, Sir Keir said: “Our message at the next election must be that we are different to the party that Britain rejected in 2019.
“We must point to the changes we’ve made – must say, never again will Labour be a party of protest not public service.
“Never again will Labour fail to grasp that economic stability is the foundation of all our ambitions.
“Never again will Labour allow hate to spread unchallenged. We have changed our party and we’re ready to change Britain.”
The Holborn and St Pancras MP, speaking on home turf in the centre of London, told around an audience of around 600 grassroots campaigners that the work against antisemitism “never stops.”
“Let me be clear – this work never stops.
“Our commitment to fighting all forms hate and discrimination – never stops.
“‘Never again’ – never stops.
“Because if we stop for one moment then we forgo the right to change our communities, our cities, our country.
Sir Keir dwelt little on Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives directly, but hit out at lengthy NHS waiting lists, ambulance delays and the struggle to get GP appointments.
“The Tories will never give up on power. That’s not who they are. So don’t let up. No complacency. Fight for every vote.”
But he also warned members that Labour would not be able to do all it wanted to if it gets power after the next general election.
“The lesson of the last year is stark.
“Lose control of the economy, and its businesses and working people who pick up the bill,” he said.
“We can’t let that happen, even when it puts a brake on things – good Labour things – we might like to do in power.
“Sound money in our public finances comes first,” he said.
“But at the same time, we must be bold on reform, on reconstruction, on national renewal.
“That’s what the British people expect from a Labour government – and we will deliver.”
The Conservatives called Sir Keir “weak” following the speech.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden said: “In a week where Labour have failed to stand up to their union paymasters, made billions of unfunded spending commitments, and allowed women in their own party to be side-lined, their empty slogans ring hollow.
“Starmer is too weak and too indecisive to make the hard decisions needed to strengthen the UK.”