Starmer to promise ‘decade of national renewal’ in first speech of 2023

Sir Keir Starmer will pledge to ‘give people a sense of possibility again, show light at the end of the tunnel’.

04 January 2023

Labour will deliver a “decade of national renewal” if it comes to power, Sir Keir Starmer will say in his first speech of 2023.

In his new year’s speech, the Labour leader is also expected to promise an end to the “sticking plaster politics” in Westminster, with “a new way of governing” for the future.

The speech comes a day after the Prime Minister delivered his own address, in which Rishi Sunak promised to halve inflation, deal with NHS waiting lists, and tackle small boats crossing the English Channel.

Speaking in Stratford, East London, Sir Keir will pledge to create the “sort of hope you can build your future around”.

He will say: “That’s why showing how we can change the country is so important this year. We can give people a sense of possibility again, show light at the end of the tunnel.”

But the Labour leader is also expected to make clear that his pledges should not “be taken as code for Labour getting its big government chequebook out again”.

He will add: “Of course, investment is required – I can see the damage the Tories have done to our public services as plainly as anyone.

“But we won’t be able to spend our way out of their mess – it’s not as easy as that. There is no substitute for a robust, private sector, creating wealth in every community.”

Sir Keir will speak about the future of the country, saying: “This New Year, let us imagine what we could achieve if we match the ambition of the British people, unlock their pride and their purpose, give them an economy and a politics they deserve.

“That’s why I say Britain needs a completely new way of governing. You can’t overstate how much a short-term mind-set dominates Westminster. And from there, how it infects all the institutions which try and fail to run Britain from the centre.”

On the NHS, the Labour leader will talk about how the crises affecting the country have each been “an iceberg on the horizon”.

“I call it ‘sticking plaster politics’. This year, we’re going to show how real change comes from unlocking the pride and purpose of Britain’s communities,” he will add.

Sir Keir will also promise to end “Westminster hoarding power”, and set out plans to modernise central Government so it becomes “dynamic, agile, strong and, above all, focused”.

The new approach to governing will be driven by “national missions”, which Labour is expected to set out in the coming weeks, and which the opposition will use to build its next election manifesto.

Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi said the speech would be “yet another desperate relaunch attempt by Keir Starmer”.

He added: “Every week he changes his position depending on what he thinks is popular – from supporting free movement to supporting the unions, he’ll say anything if the politics suits him.

“He should stop giving cliche-laden speeches and, instead, finally unveil a plan for people’s priorities. He’s got nothing to say on how to cut crime, get immigration down, and reduce borrowing – that’s what the nation wants to see.

“Once again, Labour are failing to set out a positive, detailed, long-term plan to secure the future prosperity of Britain. They should stop playing politics and back our plan for a better future that delivers for all.”

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