Keir Starmer has vowed to “make this nation anew” in a major conference speech where he described how his tool maker dad inspired his politics.
The Labour leader joked that he had been waiting “17 months, 23 days and two hours” to address party faithful at conference after last year’s gathering was axed due to Covid-19.
In a speech lasting around 90 minutes, Mr Starmer pledged to insulate all homes within the decade and to bring about an ambitious schools improvement programme.
He spoke about how family and work were “the two rocks of my life”, as he described visiting his late mother Josephine in hospital, where she was a long-term patient.
Mr Starmer also spoke about his father, who worked as a tool maker in factory, saying his example gave him “deep respect for the dignity of work”.
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He contrasted his work at the Crown Prosecution Service with Boris Johnson’s background as a newspaper columnist – and branded the PM “trivial” and a “showman with nothing to show”.
Mr Starmer was repeatedly heckled by a small group of delegates, with chants of “shame” and calls for a £15 minimum wage.
But he hit back and asked whether the detractors were “shouting slogans, or changing lives”.
Here’s what Mr Starmer announced in his speech – and some other key moments.
Insulation for all homes that need it
Labour would insulate all homes that need it within the next decade to cut carbon emissions and save families up to £400 a year in bills, the party said.
The plan would see 19 million homes upgraded in 10 years, requiring £6bn-a-year in investment.
It would be funded by huge public borrowing as part of a £26bn-a-year investment in fighting climate change over a decade.
They appear similar to the Warm Homes For All scheme announced under Jeremy Corbyn in 2019, which also pledged grants for low-income households – and also would have cost £60bn over a decade.
“If we are serious about climate change we will need to upgrade our homes,” he said.
“So it will be Labour’s national mission over the next decade, to fit out every home that needs it, to make sure it is warm, well-insulated and costs less to heat and we will create thousands of jobs in the process.”
He also pledged to introduce a Clean Air Act and said everything Labour did in Government would have to meet a “net zero test”.
It comes after a commitment from shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves to spend an extra £28 billion each year helping Britain tackle the climate change crisis under Labour.
Mental health treatment within a month
People will be able to get vital mental health treatment within a month if they need it under a Labour Government.
Mr Starmer pledged to help one million additional people get access to mental health support by funding 8,500 new staff each year.
He warned that the crisis in mental health was “one of the most urgent needs of our time”, saying: “Labour will guarantee that support will be available in less than a month.
“We’ll recruit the mental health staff that we need.”
Labour will set a new NHS target to ensuring patients get appropriate treatment – not simply an initial assessment of needs – within a month of referral.
And mental health hubs will be put into schools and in the community to help children and young people.
A radical plan for schools
Mr Starmer gave a jokey nod to Tony Blair’s “education, education, education” speech, by saying: “Education is so important I am tempted to say it three times.”
He said he wanted “every parent in the country to be able to send their child to a great state school” and promised “most ambitious school improvement plan in a generation”.
He said he wanted to see more focus on practical skills, and vowed to reinstate two weeks of compulsory work experience.
Labour would also guarantee that every young person gets to see a careers advisor and also ensure children get a chance to play competitive sport and learn music.
Protecting working people from unfair tax burden
The Labour leader sought to reassure voters the party could be trusted with the public finances and vowed to protect working people from being crippled by taxes.
He said: “I take the responsibility of spending your money very seriously. That’s why our approach to taxation will be governed by three principles.
“The greater part of the burden should not fall on working people.
“The balance between smaller and larger businesses should be fair.
“And we will chase down every penny to ensure that people working people, paying their taxes always get value for money.”
Making Brexit work
Mr Starmer, a former shadow Brexit Secretary, blasted the PM for his “botched” deal.
He said: “The government is learning that it is not enough to Get Brexit Done. You need a plan to Make Brexit Work.
“I do see a way forward after Brexit if we invest in our people and our places, if we deploy our technology cleverly and if we build the affordable homes we so desperately need.
“But the public finances we will inherit will need serious repair work.”
He did not give further details on how this would be done.
Asked if Labour would renegotiate Brexit, Mr Starmer’s spokesman said: “No.”
Family and work as the “rocks of my life”
Mr Starmer riffed on his dad’s work as a toolmaker throughout the speech, in which he vowed to “make Britain anew”.
He said family and work were “the two rocks of my life” in his most personal speech yet.
Mr Starmer told party faithful that his father “gave me a deep respect for the dignity of work” as he spoke about his background.
He said: “I learnt it round the kitchen table.cI learnt it at home, from my dad. How pride derives from work.
Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
“How work is the bedrock of a good economy and how a good economy is an essential partner of a good society.”
He also spoke movingly about his mum Josephine, who was a nurse and a long-term NHS patient with Still’s Disease.
He said the NHS that was “her livelihood became her lifeline” and described visiting her in intensive care where nurses were keeping her alive.
Family life taught him about the “dignity of work and the nobility of care”, he said.
A jibe at Corbyn with a ‘serious plan for Government’
Mr Starmer sought to put clear red water between himself and Jeremy Corbyn with a not so veiled jibe at his predecessor.
To huge applause from some activists, he said: “To the voters who thought we were unpatriotic or irresponsible or that we looked down on them, I say these simple but powerful words.
“We will never under my leadership go into an election with a manifesto that is not a serious plan for government.”
He also reeled off the achievements of the last Labour Government under Tony Blair – and jokingly nodded to Mr Blair’s famous “education, education, education” speech.