Keir Starmer’s contract with the British people speech: Five key things

What are the main themes outlined in the Labour leader’s speech made in Birmingham?

Elizabeth Arnold
Tuesday 04 January 2022 13:41
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech in Birmingham (Jacob King/PA)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech in Birmingham (Jacob King/PA)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has set out his “contract with the British people”, pledging “straight leadership” during a speech in Birmingham on Tuesday, but what are the five key points from his address?

– PatriotismSir Keir said the Labour Party “is a deeply patriotic party”. Speaking in front of a Union Jack flag, he name-checked the Attlee, Wilson and Blair Governments, pledging to “write the fourth chapter”.

He omitted to mention his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn in his speech, as he spoke of the importance of national defence and Nato.

He outlined his belief in the UK Union and “making Brexit work”, as well as marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. He said: “I don’t think you cease to be patriotic because you notice your country has flaws.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech in Birmingham (Jacob King/PA)

– StandardsSir Keir said “trust has to be earned” adding: “I am confident but not complacent about the task ahead”.

He spoke about a “binding commitment about decency and standards in public life” adding: “My solemn promise to you will be always to run a Government that honours these principles.”

Sir Keir attacked Boris Johnson’s administration, arguing: “We have a Prime Minister who thinks the rules apply to anyone but him.”

He accused the Conservatives of “gearing up for a leadership fight, too busy squabbling over their leadership to provide any”.

– SecurityCrime and anti-social behaviour he said were issues “that matter to me personally”, adding security was a “matter of social justice”. Labour, he said, would provide crime prevention teams in every neighbourhood, new police hubs and introduce a “new tough approach to closing down drug dens with new powers for local police and local authorities”.

Labour would set out a long term plan for the NHS, he said, shifting the emphasis from “emergency care to preventing people getting sick in the first place”.

Labour, he added, would also “ensure people feel more secure at work”, introducing new protections for workers.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer arrives to deliver his speech at Millennium Point in Birmingham (Jacob King/PA)

– ProsperitySir Keir said the country needed an industrial strategy to improve productivity, “to ensure that we buy, make and sell more in Britain”.

He spoke about Labour’s climate investment pledge and the importance of skills “to ensure that the next generation of students is ready for work and ready for life”.

– RespectSir Keir said everyone “has the right to be treated with respect, no places should be left behind and nobody should be treated as if they don’t matter”.

The former Director of Public Prosecutions added: “In Britain, we make and we will always play by the rules.

“I regard the rule of law as one of the things that makes Britain great.”

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