Labour leader addresses conference while later Boris Johnson will address the nation later as government tightens Covid-19 restrictions
There were 99 deaths due to Covid-19 in England and Wales in the week to 11 September, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show.
The number of Covid deaths increased from 78 in the previous week, a 27% increase. However, we should be cautious about interpreting this rise and the August Bank holiday fell in the previous week, which led to delays in deaths being registered.
And here is some Twitter comment on the speech from Labour figures. Most of the reaction I’ve seen has come from people you would expect to be supportive anyway. I have not seen much response from figures on the Corbynite left.
From Dave Prentis, the Unison general secretary
Today Keir Starmer showed that Labour’s new leadership is focussed on the future, on the challenges our country faces at this unprecedented time and crucially – on winning the next election #Lab2020
Fifteen minutes in I am liking this @Keir_Starmer speech (if not the backdrop) He is using both @BorisJohnson and @jeremycorbyn weaknesses to show his own strengths, values, seriousness.(Tho I will keep banging on about Brexit as it’s going to do so much damage to the country)1/2
That really was a well crafted speech. @Keir_Starmer – clearly not the time to set out a whole raft of new policies on the day the country is focused on Covid. It was the time to set a big argument based on values, vision and leadership contrasts. He did that well.
Key lesson from that:
Leader’s speeches should be HALF THE LENGTH!
@Keir_Starmer’s commitment to winning rather than losing, doing rather than sloganising and rebuilding Labour’s base rather than taking it for granted was a really encouraging breath of fresh air. I’ve waiting years to hear it again #Lab2020
So @Keir_Starmer is on about loving “family values”. You can do that *if* you slam social conservatism
Or “loving this country”. OK but only if you also talk about how migrants are welcome in it
Starmer says Labour need to look in mirror regarding why they lost. Yes, but in an otherwise authentic speech that grates & an opportunist shines through: he’s never taken any responsibility for the party’s terrible Brexit policy.
Let’s have politicians that take responsibility.
This is good positioning from Starmer. Defining himself against Johnson, Corbyn & even Cameron – i don’t just want to be PM for the sake of it.
Message. I’m the grown up, love my country, a family man, & an accomplished successful serious person. He needed to do this.
Overall, not a bad 1st speech by Keir Starmer given the context at #LabourConnected
But the real test is to come next May and this time next year at his 1st proper conference.
Starmer’s speech strong on values but also signals clear political strategy: this is the policy core… Labour will offer big change on the economy and social justice and rebuild trust on defence, national security and political competence… pic.twitter.com/x14HcOdUV8
That’ll do for me. Solid values. Contrition. Looking the electorate in the eye. Strong on security. Crushing the cancer of nationalism. A measured three nods, no more, to Labour’s three winners. Pride in our record not denigration. A proper Labour leader’s speech. Been 11 years.
Here is some comment on the Starmer speech from journalists and commentators. Overall, the verdict is very positive.
From the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg
No messing about from Starmer this morning – brutal on PM, brutal on party’s performance at election, and trying to explain forcefully why he wants to win with some decent lines
There is no mistaking that Labour is under new leadership – and new branding.
Party opts for the Union Jack as the image to sum up Keir Starmer’s speech. Big push on patriotism as he asks traditional Labour voters to take another look at the party. Unimaginable in Corbyn era. pic.twitter.com/pK3BlVVNar
Powerful speech from Starmer taking on Johnson & Corbyn in equal measures
Pitching himself as PM-in-waiting with brutal attacks on Johnson’s character. And an attack on Corbynism too as he speaks of taking Lab ‘out of the shadows’
To the public: “we’re under new leadership”
A very strong sense in this speech of Starmer saying all the things he had to bite his lip on while sitting around the Shadow Cabinet table. (Perhaps a parallel with May to the Cameroons…)
First rate speech from Starmer. Taking Labour “out of the shadows” an excellent way to make the perennial point that Labour can do nothing for those it cares about most unless it wins power
Very, very strong from Starmer. The Tories have a proper fight on their hands now.
One other interesting thing. Starmer embraced the knighthood. Tories hoping to trade on that. He wants to use it to show he’s not a threat, and a patriot.
.@Keir_Starmer rarely talks about his knighthood and often prefers to be called Keir not ‘Sir Keir’.
But he just said one of proudest moments was when parents saw him get knighthood at Buck Palace for services to criminal justice.
Part of message to voters re family/security
Starmer in his leader’s speech goes on the character issue. Brutal. “While Boris Johnson was writing flippant columns about bendy bananas, I was defending victims and prosecuting terrorists”. pic.twitter.com/8DVo6XC2KL
Absolutely brutal personal attack by Keir Starmer on Boris Johnson, in his virtual conference speech now. Not just going for him over competence, but studs in on his character too. Unexpected. pic.twitter.com/UZ4sKfiECH
Very good speech by @Keir_Starmer – confident, intelligent, serious, thoughtful & mercilessly savage about Boris.
Labour has an electable leader for the first time in years. pic.twitter.com/M5veywLafh
Here is the full text of the Starmer speech.
Starmer says he wants to close the attainment gap in education, which he describes as something that scars life chances.
He says social care needs reform.
It would be a country which is the best place to grow up in and the best place to grow old in.
I can see it. I can describe it. But it’s all just a dream unless we win back the trust of the people. And we’ve got a long road ahead of us.
We’re not going to win back those we’ve lost with a single speech or a clever policy offer. Trust takes time.
It starts with being a credible opposition. With taking the job seriously. That’s what we will do.
Starmer says the Covid crisis has made change even more vital.
The trust of the British people will only be won by a party: that can provide security and opportunity at work, that ends the structural flaws in our economy that mean that working people have barely had a pay rise in a decade, that fixes the housing crisis so that young people finally have the prospect of owning their own home, that understands the need for an economy that’s healing the climate crisis, not contributing to it, that guarantees the security and integrity of this nation, that gives our young people the start in life they deserve, that gives our older people the dignity that they’ve earned and that cherishes our diversity and takes pride in a society where everyone belongs.
We know that Covid affects our black, Asian and minority ethnic communities disproportionately. But the government still hasn’t done anything about it.
Starmer says the Labour leaders who won elections were modernisers.
All three of the postwar Labour winners – Attlee, Wilson and Blair – saw it as their task to modernise Britain.
In 1945, Attlee had to build a society fit to reward the sacrifices of the war.
Starmer says the best incentive for being serious about victory is remembering why you want to win.
But let’s remind ourselves of what this party can achieve at its best.
This is the party that created the National Health Service and founded Nato.
Starmer says he is frustrated that all his spokespeople are shadow ministers, not real ministers.
He says it is pointless being in power if all you can do is “object to endless Tory governments”.
So let’s be blunt. Let’s be brutally honest with ourselves.
When you lose an election in a democracy, you deserve to.
Starmer contrasts himself with the prime minister.
And this is the big difference between the prime minister and me.
While Boris Johnson was writing flippant columns about bendy bananas, I was defending victims and prosecuting terrorists.
Starmer says the government has demonstrated “serial incompetence” in its handling of the Covid crisis.
He has learned two lessons from the crisis, he says.
First, if you neglect your public services, you won’t be ready when a crisis hits. Nobody blames the government for the existence of the virus.
But the under-funding of the NHS, the abandonment of social care and the lack of investment in prevention, that’s all on their watch. That’s all down to them.
Starmer says the Covid crisis has shown people the importance of family.
Covid has made us appreciate what we value: that family really does come first. Always.
Starmer says his vision for Britain is simple.
I want this to be the best country to grow up in and the best country to grow old in.
A country in which we put family first. A country that embodies the values I hold dear. Decency, fairness, opportunity, compassion and security. Security for our nation, our families and for all of our communities.
Starmer says the desire to make a difference for the country is what motivates him.
This is a country that has given me so much.
I am thankful to the National Health Service that cared for my mum for much of her life. For the chance to be the first in my family to go to university. To go on, to practise the law and to have the privilege of leading the Crown Prosecution Service.
Starmer starts by talking about the coronavirus crisis.
He says Labour will be a “constructive opposition”. But there should be “nothing inevitable about a second lockdown”, he says.
It would be a sign of government failure, not an act of God. It would take an immense toll on people’s physical and mental health and on the economy. We need a national effort to prevent a national lockdown.
But instead of getting a grip, the government has lost control. Our testing system collapsed just when we needed it most.
Starmer thanks members for putting their faith in him.
When you grow up in a small town in Surrey, you rarely thank your parents for naming you “Keir”. And when, as a teenager, I became the fourth member of the East Surrey Young Socialists, it didn’t seem likely that one day I would stand before you as the second Keir to be Labour leader. But I am, and it’s the honour of my lifetime to lead this great movement.
Sir Keir Starmer starts by thanking Ruth Smeeth. He says he knows how hard the last few years in the part have been for her.
He says he is pleased to be in Doncaster. His wife’s mum was born and brought up new here, he says. And he says this will be the first Labour leader’s conference speech in Yorkshire since Harold Wilson in 1967.
Smeeth is Jewish. She says it has been difficult to be Jewish in the Labour party in recent years. But she says under Starmer’s leadership, that is changing.
Ruth Smeeth is introducing now. She says Labour’s failure to win the 2019 has had dire consequences for the country.
Sir Keir Starmer is due to start his speech to Labour’s virtual conference in the next few minutes. My colleague Peter Walker has previewed the speech here.
Good morning. We are used to regular, far-reaching coronavirus announcements from Boris Johnson – less than two weeks ago it was the rule of six and the moonshot – but today’s is qualitatively different because, for the first time since March, he is going to be announcing a package of measures that effectively tighten regulations at a national level, not loosen them.
That said, the PM is not going as far as some of his advisers or ministers wanted. But it’s still going to be a hard statement to make for someone who seems psychologically averse to delivering bad news. Here is our preview.
If people can work from home, they should. But I stress that it’s very important that those people whose jobs require them to be in a specific workplace do so.