Starmer pitches hope to voters as UK enters election year

(CN) — Leader of the British Labour Party and prospective Prime Minister Keir Starmer has laid out his intentions in a speech that fires the starting gun on a general election year in the United Kingdom. Speaking at a news conference in Bristol on Thursday, Starmer railed against what he described as a “politics of divide and decline,” referring to the Conservative Party that has governed the country since 2010. In contrast, he presented his party as offering the British public “a decade of national renewal” and a “credible, frank hope.” However, despite the positive message, Starmer also promised to “fight fire with fire” when questioned on the potential for the election campaign to turn dirty, warning that his opponents “will go low” and unleash “a gauntlet of fear.” Piling pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, he argued that an election should be held immediately, saying that Sunak did not possess a “personal mandate” to govern. Sunak was appointed prime minister internally by Conservative members of Parliament, following the short-lived premiership of grassroots favorite Liz Truss. The government must legally hold an election by January 2025 at the latest, though it is widely expected to take place sooner. As the campaign edges ever closer, Starmer is under pressure to give more details on his plans for government — an area in which he has been notably tight-lipped, in the hope of reducing potential attack lines from his opponents. Under particular scrutiny are plans to borrow 28 billion pounds ($35.6 billion) a year to fund a range of green investment schemes, such as home insulation and renewable energy. The investment is seen as central to Starmer’s plan for economic growth, which he says is essential to provide extra funding for public services, having ruled out any tax increases. However, the […]

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