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Labour are ‘the healers, the modernisers, the builders’ – Keir Starmer’s conference speech as it happened

The Labour leader argued that the Labour Party are “the healers, the modernisers, [and] the builders” in his conference speech — it is expected to be the last before a general election. 

Sir Keir set his sights on at least two terms in power as he vowed to lead Britain through a “decade of national renewal”.

But before he could get underway, a protester interrupted the Labour leader, pouring glitter over him. “If he thinks that bothers me, he doesn’t know me”, Starmer said.

He added: “That’s why we changed our party”.

Follow the speech as it happened below.


15.04 pm — Keir Starmer closes his speech.

He says that Labour will “serve your interests” and “grow every corner of our country”.

The aim, he adds, is to “take back our streets” and “get Britain building again”.

“Britain must, Britain can. Britain will get its future back”, he declares to applause.

Before closing, Starmer warned that the election is far from over. He said: “Wherever you think the line is, they [the Conservatives] have already got plans to cross it. But they will be up for the fight.

“They are always up for the fight to save their own skins and this isn’t over. In fact it has barely begun.

“So we have to be diciplined, focus, ready to fight back and confident because we have come so far already.”

15.03 pm — “Scotland can lead the way to a Labour government. But be under no illusion – we must earn every vote”, Keir Starmer says.

He adds that the “tide is turning” back towards his party from the SNP.

“Labour serves working people in Scotland because across all these islands”, he says.

15.00 pm — Keir Starmer repeats commitment to create a publicly-owned energy investment company in GB Energy.

A strong energy sector, he says, sees countries like the United States “create manufacturing jobs the like of which we haven’t seen for decades”

14.57 pm — Keir Starmer makes his pitch to business.

“Every new era of growth must start with an expansion of the country’s productive capabilities”, he says.

He repeats plans to scrap zero-hour contracts, end fire and rehire and bring in equal pay with a real living wage.

He says the government “must steer the ship on industrial policy”.

14.47 pm — Keir Starmer announces a plan to “get Britain building again”.

He says he will “fight the blockers who hold a veto over British aspiration”.

He adds: “It’s time to build one and a half million new homes across the country.”

14.40 pm — Keir Starmer claims that Rishi Sunak and the government “cannot see the country before them” because the “walls of Westminster are so high”.

He said: “They cannot accept that every time your interests were on the line they made you pay, but when it is people like them, they look after themselves.”

14.36 pm — Keir Starmer says he has “reformed public services before” in comments on the National Heath Service.

Pushing back against those who question the need for reform, Starmer says it’s “our responsibility to do it” and the “prize is huge”.

14.31 pm — “Changing a country is not like ticking a box. It’s not the click of a mouse”, Starmer says.

In a dig at former PM Boris Johnson and his Brexit deal, he adds: “Long-term solutions are not oven-ready”.

14.26 pm — Keir Starmer shares how he spoke with a woman in Sussex who had been hit by the cost of living crisis.

The Labour leader says the single mother of two told him she was in “survival mode”.

“That’s what this cost of living crisis does. It intrudes on the little things that we love”, he says. “[It] whittles away at our joy”.

14.21 pm — Keir Starmer says he is “shocked and appalled” by events in Israel.

The Labour leader said he “utterly condemned the senseless murder of men, women and children in cold blood by the terrorists of Hamas”.

14.18 pm — Keir Starmer warns that “the way back” from 13 years of Conservative government will be “hard”.

He adds: “What is ruined can be rebuilt. Wounds do heal.”

He hits out at “chaos” in Westminster.

14.12 pm — Starmer opens by joking about football: “I know what you’re thinking: please, please, please – no more Arsenal jokes.”

Referencing the Conservative Party conference, he says: “I do want to offer my sympathies to Manchester. Not because of that [Manchester City loss], but because I really do feel for any city that had to host that circus last week.”

14.00 pm — A protester interrupts Starmer’s speech, pouring glitter over the Labour leader before he can utter a word beyond “thank you conference”.

“If he thinks that bothers me, he doesn’t know me”, Starmer says.

“That’s why we changed our party”.

13.45 pm Keir Starmer is set to take to the stage in the next fifteen minutes to give his leader’s speech to Labour Party conference.

He will vow to lead Britain through a “decade of national renewal”.

This morning, shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Pat McFadden insisted the Labour leader was not getting “carried away” with his pitch to leave the country for a “decade”.

Read this full story here.