Labour conference: Keir Starmer's speech showed he can turn UK into a greener, fairer and more united country – Ian Murray MP

As the country lurches from crisis to crisis under Boris Johnson’s disastrous stewardship, a credible alternative programme for government has been presented to people over the last few days.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 4:45 pm
Labour leader Keir Starmer (Picture: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)

The Labour Party conference in Brighton wrapped up yesterday with Keir Starmer’s uplifting speech, highlighting that only Labour has the solutions to tackle the great problems of our age.

The atmosphere on the south coast was electric, and the party is energised once more.

It heard about economic measures including a proper living wage of at least £10 an hour, first-day sick-pay, the end of zero-hour contracts, and much more – all of which will give workers from Edinburgh to St Ives the standard of living they deserve.

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And a solution for our cherished health service following a pandemic that has simultaneously reminded us how valuable the NHS is and pushed it to breaking point.

Labour founded the NHS, and we will always be the party to champion it. Labour will stop the Tory game of simply firefighting the problems of the NHS and instead we will focus on prevention.

And our ambitions do not stop at improved physical health; mental health will become the priority of the next Labour government.

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Shadow Cabinet members look on as Labour leader Keir Starmer gives his party conference speech (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Keir announced mental health walk-in clinics and the prioritisation of young people for mental health services, which are vital for improving the health and well-being of our country.

We need that same kind of ambition in Scotland from the SNP.

The bold climate change policies announced by our Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, will restore the UK’s place as a global leader in the race against the climate crisis. Record funding, embracing technological advances, and changing the way we insulate our homes.

These are real solutions that will help us to achieve our climate targets and provide an example for the rest of the world of what an environmentally progressive country looks like.

The Labour Party will always be a broad church, and while a small minority tried to cause problems at conference, Keir has demonstrated with his statesmanlike approach that he can unite our party – and unite the country.

It is a proud time to be a member of our party.

And Scotland is back at the forefront of the Labour Party. Keir made that clear when he addressed Scottish members who travelled to Brighton.

We are proud of our legacy in giving Labour some of its titans and what we achieved in power, but we are more focused on our shared future.

Keir has highlighted that when the Union is united, we all benefit.

The achievements of Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford illustrate that devolution does not need to be a weapon for division; instead, it can be about delivering progressive, effective policy, closer to home.

Anas Sarwar laid out an excellent vision for what a truly progressive Scotland could be. Not the SNP’s inward-looking politics, but a country built upon fairness, security and togetherness.

This conference also reminded us that the UK can always be more than the Tories’ pathetic attempts to divide us.

Labour has the ambition to face the future together as one united union. And in Keir we have a leader who can deliver it.

Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South

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