UK’s future in your hands, Starmer tells voters

UK’s future in your hands, Starmer tells voters

2 hours agoBrian Wheeler,BBC PoliticsElection is ‘chance to change for the better’ – Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer has told voters the UK’s future is in “your hands”, saying “together we can stop the chaos, we can turn the page, we can start to rebuild Britain”.

Speaking shortly after Rishi Sunak announced a general election on 4 July, the Labour leader said the vote would be a chance to change the country “for the better”.

He said: “It will feel like a long campaign, I am sure of that, but no matter what else is said and done, that opportunity for change is what this election is about.”

In a preview of Labour’s election campaign, he said: “Our offer is to reset both our economy and our politics.”

With Labour comfortably ahead in the opinion polls, Sir Keir has been calling on Mr Sunak to hold an election for months – but few had expected the announcement to come today.

Speaking in a rain-lashed Downing Street, the prime minister insisted his economic plans were working and accused Labour of lacking policies.

Sir Keir – who was flanked by union flags – set out why voters should not back the Tories, insisting he would put “country first and party second”.

The Labour leader repeated the word “change” throughout his brief statement – a message which was the single-word slogan on his podium.

He said the three reasons people should vote Labour were “stop the chaos”, “time for change” and “reset the economy and our politics”.

Sir Keir has so far avoided making big pre-election promises, focusing instead on the six “first steps” he would take if elected prime minister.

These include creating 2m more NHS appointments and recruiting 6.500 new teachers, to be paid for by imposing VAT on private school fees.

Sir Keir has also said he would scrap Mr Sunak’s plan to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda as soon as he takes office and set up a new Border Security Command to tackle small boat crossings.

Mr Sunak says the Rwanda plan will act as a deterrent to people smuggling gangs and Labour does not have a viable alternative.

Labour has also said it will stick to “tough” spending limits and there will not be a lot of spare cash for public services until it can get the economy growing more strongly.

But despite watering down its £28bn net zero policies, the party remains committed to decarbonising the electricity grid by 2030.

The Conservatives claim Labour can only pay for these plans by increasing taxes. Labour says a Tory ambition to eventually abolish National Insurance will leave a “black hole” in their plans.

Voters may learn more about how policies will be paid for when the parties unveil their election manifestoes, as the campaign proper gets under way.

People are crying out for change – Ed Davey

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “This government is out of touch, it’s out of excuses and it’s out of time – and it’s time to get this Conservative government out of office.

“And if we do, we can transform our politics, we can sort out the crisis in the health and care system, we can get our economy back on track, we can end the sewage scandal and we can get the fair deal people deserve.”

Scotland’s First Minister John Swinney said the general election was a chance to “remove the Tory government and put Scotland first by voting SNP”.

“People in Scotland know we stand up for them and protect them from the damage done by Westminster,” he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Reform UK, which is neck-and-neck with the Lib Dems in the polls, said voters had a “clear choice” between the Tories, who had “broken Britain”, and “Starmergeddon” under Labour.

“It’s only Reform UK’s common sense policies that can now save Britain,” said the party’s leader Richard Tice.

The Green Party of England and Wales – from the opposite end of the political spectrum – also promised “common sense” policies, and said it was aiming to get four MPs elected to Parliament.

Co-leader Adrian Ramsay said: “Across the country, people will have the chance to vote for a Green candidate offering voters hope and practical solutions to the cost-of-living crisis, supporting people into warm, affordable homes, protecting our NHS and cleaning up our toxic rivers.”

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