politics

Winning election more important than party unity, says Starmer as he prepares to set out vision for Britain



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ir Keir Starmer will unveil his vision for the “future of our country” on Wednesday after taking on the Labour Left at the party’s annual rally.

He will seek to speak to the nation after days of bitter clashes at the Brighton conference over internal party reforms including to leadership election rules.

“Last year, I had to give the whole speech down the barrel of a camera with one other person in the room, and no reaction from anyone,” he told the BBC on Tuesday, referring to his online conference address last year due to Covid restrictions.

“Tomorrow I’ll be in front of thousands of our members and supporters, and I’m so looking forward to that.

“This is an opportunity for me to set out where I think the future of our country lies, I haven’t had that opportunity yet and I’m really going to take it tomorrow.”

Labour Centrists at the annual conference are jubilant after party reforms were pushed through including over leadership election rules, even though they had to be watered down to win sufficient backing.

In contrast, Leftwingers are heavily critical of Sir Keir over the reforms, accusing him of sparking division and of failing to unveil enough policies to drive forward the party.

Sir Keir denied that he is leading a more divided Labour Party than ever after the split with the Left deepened when a shadow cabinet member dramatically quit mid-conference.

The Labour leader insisted winning elections is more important than unity as he said Andy McDonald was “wrong” to allege the divide has widened within the party since he took over from Jeremy Corbyn.

The Labour leader was also refusing to reinstate the party whip to Mr Corbyn until he apologises for his controversial remarks in response to a report on anti-Semitism within the party.



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