Sir Keir Starmer launches Labour leadership bid in Stevenage
PUBLISHED: 16:15 05 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:15 05 January 2020
Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer chose Stevenage to launch his bid for party leadership today, saying it’s “exactly the sort of place” they need to win seats.
Sir Kier visited the Kingpin Square housing development and Hampson Park in the Pin Green area of the town and was joined by Stevenage Borough Council members, including council leader Sharon Taylor.
The shadow Brexit secretary and MP for Holborn and St Pancras said he was visiting the town that voted 59 per cent for Leave in the Brexit referendum and has a Conservative MP was because it is an example of where Labour needs to win seats. He also said he wanted to see the "brilliant work" Stevenage's Labour-run council had been doing.
During the campaign visit, he said: "We are leaving the EU in two to three weeks time and that divide between Leave and Remain goes when we leave the EU.
"The next Labour leader needs to unite the Labour Party, provide really effective opposition to Boris Johnson and needs to be pulling together a strategy so that we can win in 2024.
"That's what the next Labour needs to do, and that is what I'm determined to do on behalf of the Labour party. Not on my own, but as part of a team. We need people alongside me doing this."
After the event, he tweeted: "Fantastic afternoon in Stevenage talking to Labour activists. Thanks to everyone for attending. Another future is possible but only if we win back people's trust in Labour as a force for good."
Sir Keir has said that Labour "should have taken a stronger position one way or the other" on Brexit and that people wanted "clarity" on the issue, which the Labour Party did not provide, and that not enough was done by the party to "knock down" the Tories' 'Get Brexit Done' message.
He added that, if he was to become Labour's new leader, he would deliver the "fundamental change" needed to deal with inequality across the country.
Sir Keir hopes that his leadership chances will not be hampered because he backed another referendum, which some critics have accused of playing a role in Labour's failings in the 2019 election.
In the Stevenage constituency, Labour slashed Stephen McPartland's Conservative majority to just 3,384 votes in the 2017 General Election. However, in the December 2019 election, Mr McPartland was re-elected as MP with 25,328 votes to Labour's 16,766.
Labour's election process is due to launch next week with the outcome of who will replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader known in March.