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‘Trust me to end Tory ‘chaos’ and protect national security’ – Starmer

27 May 2024 4 minute read
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks to party supporters in in West Sussex. Photo Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Sir Keir Starmer has said the General Election amounted to a choice about “whose side are you on” as he promised to stand up for working people and restore trust in British politics.

The Labour leader said 14 years of Conservative “chaos” had led to a “crisis” in the national culture.

In his first major speech of the campaign, he sought to persuade voters that he could be trusted to deliver economic stability and protect national security.

Speaking in Tory-held Lancing, West Sussex, he said: “Elections are about more than individual changes and policies, but about values, temperament, character and a bigger question: whose side are you on?

“Who do you hold in your mind’s eye when you are making decisions?

“Everything I have fought for has been shaped by my life, every change I have made to this party has been about a cause, the answer to that question, the only answer: The working people of this country delivering on their aspirations, earning their respect, serving their interests.”

Not fully persuaded

Sir Keir acknowledged that despite Labour’s commanding opinion poll lead, many voters were not fully persuaded about his party.

“I know there are countless people who haven’t decided how they’ll vote in this election. They’re fed-up with the failure, chaos and division of the Tories, but they still have questions about us: has Labour changed enough? Do I trust them with my money, our borders, our security?

“My answer is yes, you can, because I have changed this party, permanently.”

In an attack on the Tory record, he said: “For a long time now, working people have believed opportunity in Britain is stacked against them.

“But now we are at a dangerous new point, close to crossing a Rubicon of trust, not just in politics but in many of the institutions that are meant to serve and protect the British people.

“A moment where people no longer believe their values or interests carry the respect of those in power.

“When you put that alongside a Government that over 14 years has left living standards in this country worse than when they found them, that has torched any semblance of standards in public life, Westminster parties that broke the rules they put in place to save lives and rules they expected you to follow but ignored themselves, then you get a crisis in nothing less than who we are as a nation.”

‘Dad’s Army’

Sir Keir dismissed Rishi Sunak’s plan for a new form of compulsory national service as a “teenage Dad’s Army”.

He said the policy would be “paid for by cancelling levelling-up funding and money from tax avoidance that we would use to invest in our NHS”.

“All elections are a choice and this is a clear one: levelling-up and the NHS with Labour or more desperate chaos with the Tories.”

Tory chairman Richard Holden dismissed Sir Keir’s speech as “wearisome and rambling” with “no policy, no substance, and no plan”.

But Conservative ministers continued to come under pressure to give details about Mr Sunak’s national service scheme.

Prosecution

Foreign Office minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan did not rule out the possibility of parents facing prosecution if their adult children refused to take part in the scheme.

The mandatory nature of the scheme has been compared by the Conservatives to the requirement for children up to 18 to be in education or training. Parents are liable for fines if pupils do not show up to school.

Asked on Times Radio whether parents would face prosecution if their – legally adult – 18-year-olds refuse to sign up for the military or volunteering activity, she said: “I’m not going to write the detailed policy now. That’s what a royal commission programme of works will be for.”

The £2.5 billion policy is not expected to be fully implemented until 2028-29 if the Tories win the election.

Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker has said the national service plan was “sprung” upon Tory candidates.

Writing on social media, he suggested had it been a government policy, he would have had a say because of the particular sensitivities around Northern Ireland.

He said: “Government policy would have been developed by ministers on the advice of officials and collectively agreed. I would have had a say on behalf of NI.

“But this proposal was developed by a political adviser or advisers and sprung on candidates, some of whom are relevant ministers.”


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Mawkernewek
16 days ago

Keir Starmer is asking people to ‘Trust me’. Seriously?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
16 days ago

Keir Starmer states: “Trust me to end Tory chaos” and “protect national security”. An oxymoron I feel. UK Labour will just continue in the same vein as the Tories by perpetuating their damaging policies on Wales after the general election, denying our Senedd Cymru more devolution enjoyed by both Scotland & NI, and by further exploring & exploiting Welsh natural resources to the financial benefit of the English monarchy, treasury and numerous fatcat water & power company shareholders. So it’s business as usual then.

robin campbell
robin campbell
16 days ago

He’ll need more Union Jacks than that if he wants my vote

David
David
16 days ago
Reply to  robin campbell

One Union Jack is one too many for me, so, he has lost my vote.

Jeff
Jeff
16 days ago

Really the only game in town to remove the cons but what comes after.

CapM
CapM
16 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

The Tories get back into government because England gets dissatisfied with Labour.
Only one way to break the cycle.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
16 days ago

The question is Mr Starmer, can we trust you to respect Welsh and Scottish democracy and when talking ‘devolution’ that this will be a new matter for the regions of England only, the Welsh and Scottish matters having been settled long since?

Sir Edward Pine Coffin
Sir Edward Pine Coffin
16 days ago

Sir Keir Starmer has changed the Labour Party. It used to have policies, now it doesn’t.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
16 days ago

Mr keir starmer is exactly the same as boris johnson, both are habitual liars and are disconnected from reality!

Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
16 days ago

I am ALWAYS concerned when ALL Politicians bleat on about is ‘National Security’ Well, I can tell him how to do that, keep our nose out of other Countries issues! That would leave him free to spend our Taxes on dealing with Real issues like the lack of Doctors, Nurses, Carers, Plumbers, Electricians, Builders Teachers. Instead of squandering ALL our resources on Arms and other people’s Wars!

Annibendod
Annibendod
16 days ago

Which “national culture”? There’s more than one in the UK. Whose side am I on? The side that wishes to establish a Democratic State for Cymru. Are you on the side that wants to deny Cymru its own democracy Keir?

Nubs
Nubs
16 days ago

I wouldn’t trust Keir Starmer to run a bath, never mind the country!

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