‘There Are Bigger Things To Come’: How Keir Starmer Plans To Make Life Better From Day One Of A Labour Government

Keir Starmer helps to serve drinks during a visit to 3 Lock's Brewery in Camden, where he launched Labour's plan for small businesses alongside Dragon's Den star Deborah Meaden last weekend.
Keir Starmer helps to serve drinks during a visit to 3 Lock's Brewery in Camden, where he launched Labour's plan for small businesses alongside Dragon's Den star Deborah Meaden last weekend. Stefan Rousseau - PA Images via Getty Images

Even the Tories are now admitting it. Keir Starmer is going to be the next prime minister, most likely as the head of a government with a huge electoral mandate.

In desperation, senior Conservatives are now reduced to begging voters not to hand Labour a “super-majority” on July 4.

With more than two weeks still go until polling day, it appears to be a question of how much Labour will win by, rather than whether the party will finally defeat the Tories for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Starmer took time out from the campaign trail to tell HuffPost UK about how he intends to change the country from his first day in 10 Downing Street.

And to those who remain sceptical about his ability or appetite for the task in hand, the Labour boss pointed to how he has transformed his party since succeeding Jeremy Corbyn in the wake of the 2019 election.

“When I became leader, people shook me by the hand to say ‘good luck’ and then in the next breath said ‘you’re never going to do it in one parliamentary term - it is impossible’, he said. “I never believed that. I genuinely thought we could do it, although I knew it was going to be really tough.

“But I also knew that we had to start the task on day one and be pretty ruthless about the change that we had to bring about.

“I profoundly believed that if you lose that badly, you don’t look at the electorate and say ‘what do you think you were doing’? You look at your party and say we’ve got to change and change profoundly.

“It was very important that we did it in the order I set out: change the party first, expose the Tories as not fit to run the country and then put our positive proposition on the table.”

Keir Starmer with HuffPost political editor Kevin Schofield.
Keir Starmer with HuffPost political editor Kevin Schofield. Labour Party

Just as he did with the Labour Party, Starmer plans to set about changing the country the moment he becomes PM.

He said: “What is it, on the day after the election, if we’re privileged to come in to serve, that will be doing? Stabilising the economy is the first of those and that’s absolutely vital because that is the only way to deal with the cost of living crisis.”

The Labour leader then listed his recently-announced top six priorities for his incoming government, including 40,000 extra appointments a week in the NHS, recruiting 6,500 new teachers and creating the publicly-owned Great British Energy to bring down bills.

“We will be able to start all of that straight away and this is a down payment - there are bigger things to come,” he insisted.

Clearing up the mess left by the Conservatives will include ending the culture wars which have become an increasingly-prominent part of the Tory approach.

Starmer said people are “exhausted” by constantly having to take sides on issues like trans rights.

“My clear view is that the vast majority of the public in general in the UK are reasonable, tolerant people,” he said. “Live and let live is a very British thing, and what culture wars do is force people into taking sides that they’re not instinctively inclined to do. That’s why I’ve said that politics needs to tread more lightly on people’s lives.”

Rishi Sunak’s decision to leave Normandy midway through the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of D-Day has become a defining moment of the election campaign.

It appeared to show a prime minister who did not appreciate - or worse, did not care - about the sacrifice made by thousands of young British servicemen during the Second World War.

It is also widely seen as the moment when any hope the Tories had of pulling off an unlikely comeback was finally extinguished.

Starmer, who represented Labour at the event, spoke of the moment he realised Sunak had returned to London early.

He said: “They had a row of chairs for each of the leaders of the countries that were part of D-Day, and for every other country either the prime minister or the president were there, including Biden, who had come from America, including Zelenskyy, who had come from the frontline, and our prime minister wasn’t there.”

Asked if he had been surprised by the PM’s decision, Starmer said: “Yeah, I think everybody was and everybody is. And also from my part there was an unspoken element of the day, which was the veterans had physically made an enormous effort to be there.

“They were nearly all in wheelchairs, and they will have planned it for months. Some of them talked to me about their journey, and it took them days to get there, but they got there.

You have to be there for that kind of moment. This wasn’t just a commemoration to pop into, it was an incredibly moving day and important day for all those reasons, which is why there was only ever one decision, which was to be there.”

But despite ongoing Sunak’s travails, Starmer insisted he did not feel sorry for the man vying with him for the keys to No.10.

He said: “He’s not my focus. My focus is on the country, on the voters, that is all I’m concerned about.

“I don’t want to have a running commentary on him or Nigel Farage or anybody else. Having worked so hard to get this party into a position to contest in this election, we’re really up for it, we want to have that discussion with the voters.

“I love being out and about, I much prefer it to being in parliament and that’s where my focus is. He’s pretty desperate, it seems to me.”