Keir Starmer speech in full: ‘You have changed our country’

Sir Keir Starmer has given his first speech since winning the general election by a landslide.

The Labour leader, accompanied by his wife, Lady Victoria Starmer, addressed supporters in the Tate Modern in central London.

Here is his speech in full:

“You campaigned for it, you fought for it, you voted for it and now it has arrived.

Change begins now. And it feels good, I have to be honest.

Four and a half years of work changing the party. This is what it is for. A changed Labour Party – ready to serve our country, ready to restore Britain to the service of working people.

Across our country, people will be waking up to the news – relieved that a weight has been lifted, a burden finally removed from the shoulders of this great nation.

Sir Keir says the changed Labour Party is 'ready to serve our country, ready to restore Britain to the service of working people'Sir Keir says the changed Labour Party is 'ready to serve our country, ready to restore Britain to the service of working people'

Sir Keir says the changed Labour Party is ‘ready to serve our country, ready to restore Britain to the service of working people’ – GEOFF PUGH

And now we can look forward again, walk into the morning, the sunlight of hope, pale at first but getting stronger through the day, shining once again on a country with the opportunity after 14 years to get its future back.

And I want to thank each and every one of you here campaigning so hard for change. And not just in this campaign either, also for these four and a half years changing our party. The Labour movement is always everything’s achieved, past and future, down to the efforts of its people. So thank you truly. You have changed our country.

A mandate like this comes with a great responsibility. Our task is nothing less than renewing the ideas that hold this country together. National renewal. Whoever you are, wherever you start in life, if you work hard, if you play by the rules, this country should give you a fair chance to get on. It should always respect your contribution and we have to restore that.

To return politics to public service so that politics can be a force for good. Make no mistake, that is the great test of politics in this era. The fight for trust is the battle that defines our age.

It is why we campaigned so hard on demonstrating we are fit for public service. Service is the precondition for hope, respect, the bonds that can unite the country. Together, the values of this changed Labour Party are the guiding principles for a new government. Country first, party second.

‘We will serve them faithfully’

That is the responsibility of this mandate. You know 14 years ago, we were told that we’re all in it together. I say to British people today: imagine what we could do if that were actually true. So by all means, enjoy this hope. Nobody can say you haven’t waited patiently. Enjoy the feeling of waking up on a morning like this, with the emotion that you do see the country through the same eyes. Hold onto it because it is what unity is made for. But use it to show to the rest of the country as we won, that this party has changed.

That we will serve them faithfully, govern for every single person in this country.

But also don’t forget how we got here. This morning, we can see that the British people have voted to turn the page on 14 years. But don’t pretend that there was anything inevitable about that. There’s nothing preordained in politics. Election victories don’t fall from the sky. They’re hard won and hard fought for. And this one could only be won by a changed Labour Party.

We have a chance to repair our public services because we’ve changed the party. We have the chance to make work pay because we changed the party. We have the chance to deliver for working people, young people, vulnerable people, the poorest in our society – because we changed the party.

Country first, party second isn’t a slogan. It’s the guiding principles of everything we have done and must keep on doing. On the economy, on national security, on protecting our borders.

‘We said we would turn the page and we have’

The British people have to look us in the eye and see that we can serve their interests. And that work doesn’t stop now. It never stops. The changes we’ve made are permanent, irreversible, and we must keep going. We ran as a changed Labour Party and we will govern as a changed Labour Party.

I don’t promise you it will be easy. Changing a country is not like flicking a switch. It’s hard work. Patient work. Determined work.

But even when the going gets tough –and it will – remember, tonight and always, what this is all about.

Now, I may have mentioned my parents a few times in this campaign, once or twice. But the sense of security we had, the comfort they took from believing that Britain would always be better for their children. The hope, not high-minded, not idealistic, but a hope that working class families like mine could build their lives around.

It is hope that may not burn brightly in Britain at the moment. But we have earned the mandate to relight the fire. That is the purpose of this party and of this government.

We said we would end the chaos and we will. We said we would turn the page and we have.

Today we start the next chapter. Begin the work of change, the mission of national renewal and start to rebuild our country.


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