Shropshire Star

General election is a choice between two countries, Sir Keir Starmer says

The Labour leader kicked off the campaign trail at Gillingham Football Club on Thursday.

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General Election campaign 2024

The Labour leader has pitched the General Election as a vote between “two different countries, two different futures” for the UK as he started on the campaign trail.

Sir Keir Starmer kicked off his bid to be the next prime minister at Gillingham Football Club, flanked by supporters and deputy leader Angela Rayner.

Setting out his pitch to voters, Sir Keir said: “This election is about a choice: Two different countries, two different futures.

“Decline and chaos continuing under the Tories, or rebuilding our country under Labour.

“The power of the vote is with you. If you want change, you have to vote for it.

“And if you vote Labour, it is a vote to stop the chaos, it is a vote to turn the page and it is a vote to rebuild our country together.”

The Holborn and St Pancras MP also hit out at the Tories’ record in government as “unforgivable” and said voters “do not have to put up with this”.

“For a government to leave, after 14 years, our country with living standards worse than when they started is absolutely unforgivable,” he said.

Speaking to reporters following his speech, Sir Keir said the Prime Minister has never believed in the Rwanda plan and has called an election early so it is not tested before the poll.

The Labour leader said: “Rishi Sunak clearly does not believe in his Rwanda plan. I think that’s been clear from this morning because he’s not going to get any flights off.

“I think that tells its own story. I don’t think he’s ever believed that plan is going to work, and so he has called an election early enough to have it not tested before the election.

“We have to deal with the terrible loss of control of the border under this Government, we have to tackle the small boats that are coming across – nobody but nobody should be making that journey.

“But the serious response to that, rather than the gimmick from the Government, is to smash the gangs with a new border command that will work across countries to take those gangs down and stop this vile trade.”

General Election campaign 2024
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner kicked off the party’s General Election campaign at Gillingham Football Club (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The Labour boss also appealed to fans at the football stadium.

He said: “It is great to be here in Gillingham. Last time under a Labour government, Gillingham was in the same league as Manchester City, so that is a good place to start.”

The Conservative Party chairman Richard Holden responded to Sir Keir’s campaign speech accusing the opposition leader of not having a plan.

Mr Holden said: “Sir Keir Starmer does not have the conviction, courage or plan that Britain needs to secure a brighter future in a more uncertain world.

“Starmer has a track record of lacking the courage and strength to stick to his guns and that means you cannot trust him not to increase your taxes, raid your pension or burden your children with extra borrowing.

“The choice is clear: stick with the plan by choosing bold action for a safer, more secure and more prosperous future with Rishi Sunak, or go back to square one with Keir Starmer and the same old Labour.”

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