I don’t care if people think I’m a conservative, says Starmer as he vows New Labour ‘on steroids’
Sir Keir Starmer will say he does not care if people think he is conservative – as he promises the next government will be New Labour “on steroids”.
In a speech on Saturday, the Labour leader will say the Tories “can no longer claim to be conservative” and will blast “patronising contempt for those who fly our flag”.
It comes as an early blueprint spelling out the policies that could form Labour’s next election manifesto leaks.
Sir Keir is expected to tell Blairite think tank Progressive Britain that his party must go further than Tony Blair did when he re-wrote the so-called “Clause Four” and rejected public ownership.
In a reference to his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn he will say: “Some people think that all we’re doing is distancing ourselves from the previous regime – that totally misses the point.
“This is about taking our party back to where we belong and where we should always have been… back doing what we were created to do,” he will say.
“That’s why I say this project goes further and deeper than New Labour’s rewriting of Clause Four. This is about rolling our sleeves up, changing our entire culture – our DNA. This is Clause Four – on steroids.”
In a blast to critics who say he is too right wing, he will say that Labour must understand “precious” parts of Britain’s “way of life”, communities, and environment are worth preserving.
“And look – if that sounds conservative, then let me tell you: I don’t care. Somebody has got to stand up for the things that make this country great and it isn’t going to be the Tories,” extracts from his speech pre-briefed by Labour say.
Meanwhile, the LabourList website has published a leaked internal draft of Labour policies that gives the clearest idea yet of what Sir Keir might commit to doing in power.
The early plans, drawn up by party policy chiefs, include existing eye-catching commitments to raising taxes on private schools and taking the railways into public ownership.
Notable plans spelled out in the National Policy Forum documents also include the repeal of some anti-trade union legislation and the abolition of non-dom tax status.
And it also spells out in detail how Labour will decarbonise Britain’s economy – with a state investment fund backing new gigafactories and R&D money for green industry.
The party also plans a wave of “in-sourcing” of public services back to the public sector, though there is a lack of detail on how this would be achieved.
It also has plans for an employment rights bill in the first 100 days of entering office.
Labour’s final manifesto will be formally drawn up ahead of the general election, with input from trade unions and other stakeholders in the party.
Notably, many of the ambitious policies committed to by Sir Keir during the 2020 leadership election are absent from the document.
The dossier states there will be “no return to freedom of movement” with the EU – and commits to a reformed “points-based immigration system” instead.
It also suggests water and energy utilities will remain in private hands with the companies subject to revamped regulations and targets.