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Labour not scaling back government ambitions, Starmer insists at campaign launch

16 May 2024 2 minute read
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks during the launch of Labour’s doorstep offer to voters. Photo Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Sir Keir Starmer has denied he is scaling back Labour’s ambitions as he launched the party’s doorstep offer to voters ahead of the general election.

The Labour leader unveiled a pledge card with six “first steps” his party would take if it were to win power as he spoke at a campaign event in Essex.

The steps include measures to invest in the NHS, education and policing, to set up a new national energy company and an elite border force, and to promote economic stability.


Sir Keir hit back at suggestions the pledges were a scaled-back version of his party’s ambitions for government set out previously in five missions for “national renewal”.

He sought to portray the first steps as part of Labour’s wider programme for government, as he attempted to manage expectations about what the party could achieve in power following the UK’s recent economic difficulties.

“I’m not scaling back our ambition absolutely at all,” he said.

“The way I’ve set this out has been a strategy I’ve been operating to for four years.”

He said the first stage of the strategy was to recognise the “scale” of defeat Labour suffered in 2019 and to change the party, and the next was to “expose the Government as incompetent”, which he said had been assisted by the behaviour of “several of their prime ministers”.

“We’re not reducing the mission,” Sir Keir said.

“I don’t accept that they’re small first steps,” he continued to insist in a Q&A with the media.

“If you’re waiting on an NHS waiting list, this is a change that makes a massive difference.”

Economic stability

He also emphasised the need for economic stability, which Labour’s campaign material says will require “tough spending rules”.

The Labour leader said he had recently spoken to a couple in Wolverhampton who had decided they could not afford to have a second child as a result of the fallout from Liz Truss’s 2022 mini-budget.

“I’m not prepared to let an incoming Labour government ever do that kind of damage to working people,” he told the audience.

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1 day ago

The strategy he has been working to for four years? Four years ago was before he ditched the 10 pledges!

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