Conversations in Ipswich connecting Labour back with voters, says Sir Keir Starmer during visit
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said harnessing the community spirit during the Covid-19 pandemic will be a part of his vision for Labour going forward - and conversations with people in Ipswich will help connect the party back to voters.
Sir Keir was in town on Wednesday and Thursday, talking to businesses and residents about recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Labour leader said he hoped on-the-ground conversations would help connect back with voters, following the party's loss in the 2019 General Election.
"One of the reasons I am here for two days is to make sure that I close the gap between Labour and those we want to vote for us," he said.
"I think the best way of doing that is spending time in a place. What I wanted to avoid was coming to Ipswich and making a speech or intervention and then three hours later getting the train back to London. I want to come here for a good period of time, have those conversations."
Sir Keir said his conversations had included sharing some of his ideas around flexible working and "a real offer for young people under 25", as well as gauging opinions of those in the town.
The Conservatives overturned Labour's slim majority of 836 in 2017 to more than 5,000 in the 2019 General Election in Ipswich, while the May local elections this year saw the party lose seats at both the county and borough councils as the Tories made gains.
Sir Keir said it was now about helping people understand Labour post-pandemic, adding: "We look back and we know the Labour party want to do better - the big question coming out of the pandemic is what does tomorrow look like, what has Labour got to offer going forward?
"We need to harness the spirit of the pandemic.
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"For all the terrible things of the pandemic, the spirit in which people came together to look after each other, knock on people’s doors with bits of food or medicine, or even businesses looking after their staff and customers - if we can harness that and hardwire that with a vision for the future, that is where the discussion needs to be."