Labor conference gives Starmer opportunity to stress dividing lines with conservatives
Labour’s annual conference is set to start in Liverpool on Sunday with high expectations for Sir Keir Starmer to set the dividing lines between his party and the new Conservative government.
Supporters of the Labor leader hope he will use the four-day meeting to capitalize on the unpopularity of economic measures by Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng.
The government’s controversial program of lifting the cap on bankers’ bonuses, cracking down on social benefits and slashing taxes to benefit mainly the wealthy has deepened the ideological divide between the two main parties and given Labor plenty of ammunition.
Let’s unite to build this better future that our country deservesAnneliese Dodds, leader of the Labor Party
Sir Keir will have to link Conservative decisions to falling living standards and articulate a compelling vision to improve them.
Labour’s call for a heftier windfall tax on the profits of energy and oil giants to fund the freezing of energy bills – which Ms Truss is paying for by borrowing – will be a key part of the argument.
Sir Keir will seek to project himself as future prime minister in his speech on Tuesday, with his confidence bolstered by a comfortable lead in the polls.
However, there are fears the gap may not be wider despite Boris Johnson’s government unrest and voters still unsure of the direction his successor is heading.
Hopes that Sir Keir can lead the party to victory at the next general election will always be higher than at last year’s conference, which was seen as a watershed moment for him.
This year’s event – only his second in-person conference since taking office – is expected to feature fewer internal divisions due to an exodus of left-wing party members.
But the sources of tension could be debates over electoral reform and Sir Keir’s ban on joining strikers on the picket lines, costing Sam Tarry his role as shadow transport minister in July.
Some dissent is also possible when delegates sing the national anthem – for the first time in recent history – at the start of the rally on Sunday.
After Sir Keir paid tribute to the late Queen, Deputy Leader Angela Rayner will open the conference by pledging to end the Tories’ ‘supply racket’ and instead reward businesses that create jobs, local skills and regeneration.
She said: ‘Under the next Labor government there will be no hiding place for cronies and no corner for corruption. We will give conservative sleaze dealers their marching orders, end aid to tax havens and delist failing suppliers.
The TUC has welcomed the plans, which include the massive internalisation of public procurement.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “These proposals are much needed. Outsourcing has been a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money and has led to a race to the bottom on workers’ wages and conditions.
Other announcements will include a new Hillsborough Act to help prevent future injustices where there is state involvement.
The Labor Party is also relaunching its slogan “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” by announcing plans to prevent the exploitation of children.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told the Mirror ahead of the conference: “We are going to ban the training of children for crime because gangs should not be able to exploit children and young people, and end up potentially dragging them into a life of crime and exploitation. ”
Labor President Anneliese Dodds urged her party to come together “to build that better future our country deserves”.
She said: “We meet at a difficult time for Britain. Families and businesses are facing spiraling costs and the whole country seems worried about a winter of uncertainty.
“Twelve years of Conservative governments have left us with lower growth, lower investment and lower productivity. The only things that are going up are inflation, interest rates and bankers’ bonuses.
“But Labor has a plan for a fairer and greener future that will secure our economy and relaunch growth, that will end the short-termism that has tipped us from crisis to crisis, that provides energy security and lowers invoices, which seizes the opportunities of the future and benefits workers.
The Conservatives’ conference will take place in Birmingham from October 2-5. The Liberal Democrats canceled theirs as it fell within the period of mourning following the Queen’s death.