Keir Starmer tells voters future of Britain ‘rests in your hands’ in 2024

Labour leader says looming general election is chance to ‘give Britain its future back’

Adam Forrest
Political Correspondent
Saturday 30 December 2023 22:35
Keir Starmer tells voters Britain's future 'rests in your hands' in New Year's message

Sir Keir Starmer has challenged voters in his new year’s message – saying the future of Britain “rests in their hands” at the upcoming general election.

The Labour leader used his end-of-year address to deliver an election-oriented message, framing 2024 as the year to “give Britain its future back”.

He said it has also been another tough year economically for millions – but that hope “is the fuel of change” and “the oxygen of a better future”.

Sir Keir – who enters the new year with his party holding a large and sustained poll lead over the Conservatives – promised a Labour government would serve the country.

By building expectations of a contest this spring, Labour is setting the stage to accuse Rishi Sunak of “bottling it” if he holds on until the autumn.

In a video message, Sir Keir told voters: “This year, in Britain, the power to shape the future of our country will rest in your hands.”

“In the Labour party we’ve been building to this for four years. We’re confident we have a plan that can move our country forward,” he will say.

Keir Starmer made a Christmas visit to meet British troops in Estonia

Sir Keir added: “I know that politics isn’t held in particularly high regard in Britain.

“But I have spent four years bringing the Labour Party back to service, and in 2024, we can do the same for politics … Let’s make sure this is the year where together we get Britain’s future back.”

It comes as Mr Sunak asked the public to look forward with “pride and optimism” to 2024, as he insisted his plan for Britain’s economy was already working.

The PM urged voters to focus on the promise of a “brighter future” in a new year’s message, as he gears up for an election campaign in the months ahead.

The Tory leader’s closest aides remain set on an autumn election, in the hope it will give him more time to let better economic news sink in with the electorate. But Mr Sunak will face claims he “bottled it” if he lets the spring go without going to the polls.

In political gamesmanship, Labour frontbencher Emily Thornberry claimed that chancellor Jeremy Hunt holding his Budget on 6 March showed that a May election was the “worst kept secret in parliament”.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey is calling for electoral reform to ‘smash’ the two-party system

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey will centre his own New Year message on an appeal to “transform British politics” – renewing his call to end the two-party system in a push for electoral reform.

In a video message, he is expected to say that “neither the Conservatives or Labour are capable of tackling” the “big, deep-rooted challenges in our country” because neither will change the “broken political system” that underpins them.

The Lib Dem leader will say: “We must do nothing less than transform the nature of British politics for good.”

He will add that it’s time to “smash the two-party system, reform our elections, and give everyone an equal voice, because that is the only way we can build a fairer, greener, more caring country”.

Campaigners have urged Labour and the Lib Dems to forge an electoral pact to remove the Tories at the next general election after “industrial-scale” tactical voting helped the parties win by-elections in 2023.

Both parties have dismissed the idea of any formal deal. And with Labour riding high in the polls, the leadership does not feel it has to offer the Lib Dems an electoral reform referendum to secure support in the event of a hung parliament.

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