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Labour’s big pitch puts Starmer front and centre – and climate in the back seat


Keir Starmer speaking in Purfleet.

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When Keir Starmer walked over to his seat in Purfleet’s Backstage Centre today, it was the second time I’d seen him that morning.

The first time, he was about 50 feet tall and stretched across a digital billboard on London’s Old Street.

Beside him, highlighted in red, was a list of six ‘first steps for change’ – part of a major policy push that has marked the effective launch of Labour’s general election campaign.

Clearly, the party is keen to put its leader – the second-most popular politician in the country after Nigel Farage, according to YouGov – at the centre of its effort to win over voters. There he is, in black and white, wearing glasses and a serious expression, sleeves rolled up.

Even more so than usual for these types of things, today’s event felt like a gig with support act after support act leading up to the headliner. No fewer than 14 separate people (live or televised) spoke before Sir Keir took to the stage.

They included six members of the shadow cabinet, Labour candidate Mike Tapp (who hopes to take over from Tory defector Natalie Elphicke as MP for Dover), business leaders and other party supporters.

The highlight came in the form of a music teacher named Nathaniel Dye, who began his speech by announcing he was dying from cancer. If the NHS was in better shape, he said, he may have been treated earlier and ended up with more than three or four years to live.

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But it wasn’t, so he hasn’t.

Nathaniel’s bluntness about his mortality was breathtaking, and his was the only speech apart from Sir Keir’s which was met with a standing ovation.

Sir Keir Starmer spoke today with a backdrop of his six policies and his shadow cabinet (Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

Once everyone else had spoken, the lectern was removed from the stage. A former Tory voter introduced the Labour leader, and he promptly stepped up to the stage.

He was tie-free and his sleeves were once again rolled up. His team must have liked the way he looked after the infamous Labour conference glitter incident last October. Unlike the other speakers, Sir Keir’s teleprompter just featured a list of bullet points rather than precise wording.

He spoke about a family who had decided not to have a second child after Liz Truss’s 2022 mini-budget, and about a woman with an ingrown eyelash who had waited 18 months to be treated before being told to wait 12 months more.

As one more than one journalist pointed out when he turned to the press afterwards, it was …read more

Source:: Metro

      

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