Keir Starmer speech: Everything the Labour leader said in his New Year’s message

On Tuesday, Keir Starmer delivered a speech setting out his vision for the Labour Party and the country more broadly in 2022.

The leader of the opposition spoke from Birmingham as his party continues to lead in the polls, following the sleaze scandals and Christmas party nightmares that dogged the Tories at the end of last year.

It was his chance to wake the country up from their festive slumbers and capitalise on his political gains - but what did he say?

Here are the key lines and messages from his speech.

“The British people do not like being treated as fools”

Alluding to the sleaze scandals from last year, Starmer recycled lines that went down well in previous editions of PMQs and said the Conservative Party has “lost the moral right to rule”.

He made it clear that while he supported the government in the pandemic over lockdown measures, things were changing now and he seemed keen to set himself apart from the Tories.

“Contract with the British people”

The main section of Starmer’s speech was dedicated to setting out the idea of a contract with the public - which sounds like a more succinct manifesto and is unfortunate given that a contract with the people was used by Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party in 2019, but never-mind.

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Starmer’s contract is based on three pillars: “security, prosperity and skills” and he explained what each of those words meant to him.

“The Labour Party is a deeply patriotic party.”

Clearly keen to win back Labour heartlands, Starmer was keen throughout the speech to emphasise his patriotism and how proud he was to be British.

He gave a quick history of the Labour Party in government and rattled off things it did well but looking to the future said it doesn’t make him any less patriotic to acknowledge that the country has flaws.

He has been roasted on Twitter since for having rather a lot of flags in the background of his speech.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (Jacob King/PA)Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (Jacob King/PA)PA Wire

“The first duty of government is the security of its citizens”.

Showing his background in law, Starmer set out his political philosophy clearly when opining about the purpose of governance.

Touching on potential policies for the first time in the speech and for what feels like the first time to critics who say they don’t know what Starmer stands for, he said the party would introduce crime prevention teams, police hubs, and a host of other things to improve the country.

“Making Brexit work is painstaking word and slogans won’t cut it.”

As he did in his conference speech last September, Starmer made it clear that Brexit is a reality the country now has to live with but he wouldn’t accept it being mishandled.

He also made a dig at Johnson and his over-reliance on slogans in politics.

“I don’t think politics is a branch of the entertainment industry.”

Starmer made another clear dig at Johnson who he has previously accused of being “a showman” who pays too much attention to the media.

“This is not about the flaws of one is about the flaws of a political party that has been in power for too long.”

Slamming the Tories over accusations that they were participants in a number of Covid breaching gatherings over Christmas 2020, Starmer said it was not just Johnson’s fault but the wider party and its culture and made it clear he believes it is Labour’s turn to rule.

“Too busy squabbling over their leadership to provide any.”

He then said the Tory party was more concerned about who would lead it next when Johnson eventually departs, referencing his declining popularity, and that the country needs a government focussed on providing leadership.

Here’s what people made of it:

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