‘Change is in the air’: Keir Starmer gloats that the Tories’ ‘self-inflicted’ economic crisis will help Labour win over voters as he vows to emulate Tony Blair

  • Keir Starmer has been giving interviews after his Labour conference speech
  • He said activists could feel ‘change is in the air’ amid the ‘self-inflicted’ crisis
  • Sir Keir suggested he wants to emulate Tony Blair’s historic election victories 

Keir Starmer insisted ‘change is in the air’ today as he claimed the Sterling crisis will help him win over voters.

In a round of interviews in Liverpool the morning after his conference speech, the Labour leader said market chaos in the wake of Kwasi Kwarteng’s Budget was ‘self-inflicted’. 

He argued that the ‘absolute mess’ would make people more likely to turn to his party for ‘answers’.

A bullish Sir Keir also said he hopes to emulate Tony Blair’s historic election victories, after a poll suggested Labour is 17 points ahead of the Tories. 

Frontbenchers at conference have been privately boasting that they expect to ‘win big’ when the country returns to the ballot boxes, probably in 2024.

In a round of interviews in Liverpool today, Keir Starmer said market chaos in the wake of Kwasi Kwarteng’s Budget was ‘self-inflicted’

A bullish Sir Keir also said he hopes to emulate Tony Blair’s historic election victories (pictured in 1997)

Sir Keir told LBC Radio: ‘This is a confident Labour Party that’s done a lot of hard work in the last two years to change our party, remake our party, and people are now looking to the Labour Party for the answers to the very difficult questions that are out there.

‘So this is a Labour Party that can confidently look the electorate in the eye and the electorate are looking back at the Labour Party.’

He said activists in Liverpool – where conference will wrap up today – ‘can feel something in the air’.

‘And what they’re feeling in the air, I think, is change – because obviously, the Government we’ve got has made an absolute mess of the economy and here you’ve got a Labour Party calmly, carefully and with confidence, setting out alternative plans for our economy and for our public services.’

Asked about the IMF’s intervention condemning Kwasi Kwarteng’s Budget package – which provoked fury from Tory MPs – Sir Keir said the government should think again.  

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the problems were ‘self-inflicted’.

‘It’s the worst of all situations for our country to find itself in,’ he said.

‘Rather than coming on and disparaging the IMF, the Government needs to come on and urgently review the plans that it set out last Friday.’

In a sign of his growing confidence, Sir Keir distanced himself further from the Corbyn era.

Pressed on whether the party was now close to Tony Blair than Mr Corby, Sir Keir said: ‘I certainly hope so because Tony Blair won three elections and I want us to win the next election.’

He added: ‘We are firmly on the centre ground, common sense politics, practical answers to the challenges the country faces.’

Mr Kwarteng is meeting investment banks later after his tax-cutting Budget spooked traders – driving up government borrowing costs to eye-watering levels and hammering Sterling.

A poll published yesterday suggested Labour is 17 points ahead of the Tories

The currency had clawed back ground after reaching an all-time low of just $1.03 on Monday, but fell again this morning after the IMF criticised the ‘large and untargeted’ fiscal package.  

There was fury at the international body urging Mr Kwarteng to perform a U-turn on his tax cuts in his next mini-Budget on November 23. 

Mr Kwarteng tried to soothe nerves on the Conservative benches in a call with dozens of MPs last night, stressing the need for ‘cool heads’ and saying the government ‘can see this through’. 

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