Sir Keir Starmer has said Labour must retain its radicalism while making it relevant to people’s everyday lives as he launches his leadership campaign.
The shadow Brexit secretary appears keen to emphasise his radical credentials in a pitch to grassroots party members who are thought to be more left-wing than Labour MPs, and whose votes will ultimately determine the outcome of the leadership contest.
Speaking ahead of the launch in Manchester later, he told Sky News: “The last general election result was devastating for the Labour Party. We need to rebuild, and first and foremost we need to be united.
“We need to be an effective opposition, taking the argument to Boris Johnson – and that means having the best talent we have on show, but also being radical and relevant for 2024.
“But most importantly we need to forge a path to victory.
“We have now lost four general elections, and we now need to focus on the next general election, probably 2024, and set out our vision for the late 2020s and the 2030s – and a radical vision that will need to be.”
Trust in the party which he said “has been seeping away for many years” needs to be restored, he said.
Sir Keir said the party needed to defend its values, “retain our radicalism”, and to make that relevant to people’s everyday lives.
“People desperately need and want us to win,” he said.
“We have to deliver a programme that will tackle low pay and insecure work, rebuild our public services, empower communities and tackle the climate emergency.
“We have to rebuild people’s trust in Labour as a force for good and real change.”
Sir Keir will also pledge to win back former supporters who switched to the Tories at the general election and promise to pursue the prime minister “relentlessly” in parliament if he succeeds in becoming leader.
He said: “Boris Johnson said that many voters in the north had lent their votes to the Conservatives.
“We must set ourselves the task of winning those votes back.”
Sir Keir has emerged as the clear favourite among Labour MPs and was the first of the six contenders to secure the 22 nominations required to progress to the next stage of the contest.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, the favourite of the left, and backbenchers Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips have also passed the threshold.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, with 10 nominations, and Clive Lewis, with just four, appear to be struggling.
They have until Monday afternoon to get the necessary support or be forced to drop out.
The result of the leadership contest will be announced in April.
Sir Keir Starmer has said Labour must retain its radicalism while making it relevant to people’s everyday lives as he launches his leadership campaign. The shadow Brexit secretary appears keen to emphasise his radical credentials in a pitch to grassroots party members who are thought to be more left-wing than Labour MPs, and whose votes will ultimately determine the outcome of the leadership contest.