'We know of Keir Starmer's values – next challenge is selling Labour on the doorstep'

Keir Starmer’s first Labour Party Conference speech as Leader of the Opposition today in Brighton lasted nearly 90 minutes – plenty of time to lay out the values that drive him, writes Jason Beattie

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Starmer says Johnson is a ‘trickster who has performed his one trick’

Keir Starmer is the proud son of a craftsman.

This afternoon he displayed his own craftsmanship as he set about turning Labour into a force which is ready for government.

He was helped in his mission by the repeated heckling from the few members of the audience who remain loyal to the Corbyn cause.

Their interruptions only succeeded in drawing attention to how marginalised they have become and how much the party has changed under Starmer’s leadership.

His put down the hecklers – should we be “shouting slogans or changing lives?” – showed Labour had moved from a party of protest to a party hungry for power.

How do you think Starmer did at conference? Have your say in the comments below

Sir Keir Starmer gave his leader’s speech for the first time to a live audience at Labour’s annual conference


Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

You knew the left had lost the internal battle at the huge cheers which greeted Starmer as he reeled off the achievements of the Tony Blair government.

There was applause too for Starmer’s support for the armed forces, his emphasis on patriotism and the strong stance on law and order – all issues that matter to Red Wall voters which were barely mentioned during the Corbyn years.

After waiting for 17 months to deliver his first address in person as Labour leader it was understandable that Starmer had a lot to get off his chest.

Many will feel that he was so desperate to catch up on lost time that the speech was too long and unfocused.

There was a scattering of policy announcements but there was nothing which could be said to define the essence of Starmerism.

Where it succeeded was when he drew a contrast between his responsible approach to politics and the trivial attitude of Boris Johnson.

We learned a lot about the values which drive him and his vision for a country that respects dignity in work, cares for its young and elderly, and prizes security and equality.

The next challenge is transform these beliefs into goods which be sold to voters on the doorstep.

Today’s task was to lay the foundations for an electoral recovery. There is more work to be done before the construction is completed and Labour can once again open its doors to visitors.

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