Keir Starmer Pledges to End ‘Gimmicks’ and Restore Stability in UK Politics

The Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer, pledged on Thursday to lead a government that is both “pro-business and pro-worker” if elected on July 4th. He aims to bring stability to the UK after years of economic and political turmoil, ending what he called the “desperate era of gestures and gimmicks” under the Conservative Party.

Launching Labour’s election manifesto in Manchester, Starmer stated that a Labour government would “stop the chaos, turn the page and start to rebuild our country.”

Next month, British voters will elect lawmakers for all 650 seats in the House of Commons. The leader of the party with a majority, either alone or in coalition, will become prime minister. Labour currently enjoys a double-digit lead in opinion polls over Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives, who have been in power for 14 years under five different prime ministers.

The Conservatives replaced two prime ministers in 2022 without an election: Boris Johnson, who resigned after a series of scandals, and Liz Truss, whose seven-week tenure was marked by drastic tax cuts that shook the economy.

Starmer, a former chief prosecutor known for his competence, is attempting to leverage his steady image. His central message is that he has transformed Labour from a party associated with high taxes and big spending under former leader Jeremy Corbyn into a party of the stable center.

Starmer presented his platform as “a manifesto for wealth creation,” acknowledging that a Labour government would face “hard choices” regarding public spending. He stated that he would not “play fast and loose with the public finances” and would focus on economic growth after years of sluggish performance.

Starmer’s cautious economic approach has garnered support from many business leaders but has disappointed some within his party who seek more radical change.

Starmer described the party’s platform as a manifesto for “wealth creation” and outlined ambitious long-term goals: establishing a new industrial policy, developing a 10-year infrastructure strategy, and building 1.5 million new homes.

Labour pledged to improve ties with Britain’s former partners in the European Union but ruled out rejoining the bloc’s single market and customs union.

The manifesto’s spending commitments were modest. It forecasts a tax increase of 7.4 billion pounds ($9.25 billion) by 2028-29, achieved through measures such as closing loopholes related to the abolition of the “non-domiciled” tax status, which has allowed some wealthy individuals to avoid UK taxes, and extending a windfall tax on energy companies.

While Starmer said personal taxes would not rise under a Labour government, the Conservatives have accused them of being the high-tax party. “If you think they’ll win, start saving,” Sunak wrote.

Starmer delivered his speech at the headquarters of the Co-op, a Manchester-based cooperative society that has grown into a large retail and services empire. He introduced several voters, including a father whose family of four lives in a one-bedroom apartment and Nathaniel Dye, a man with terminal cancer advocating for faster treatment.

The only unscripted moment came from a demonstrator calling for tougher climate change policies from Labour, who was promptly removed.

Sunak released the Conservative manifesto on Tuesday, pledging to cut taxes and reduce immigration if the Conservatives are re-elected.

Labour’s 131-page manifesto largely consisted of previously announced plans, with few last-minute additions to attract voters.

“It’s not about rabbits out of a hat, it’s not about pantomime,” Starmer said. “I’m running as a candidate to be prime minister, not a candidate to run the circus.”