Keir Starmer today unveils how Labour will bounce back after languishing 10 points behind the Tories in the polls.
Now beginning his second year as leader, the former chief public prosecutor pledges to end the party’s softly, softly approach on crime with tough sentences for rapists, murderers and street thugs.
Rapists who abduct and kill victims will get whole-life tariffs to help women feel better protected.
And he promises to overturn Tory laws which put statues before people when he becomes PM.
In a Sunday Mirror interview he said: “A starting point of five years for rape while suggesting 10 years for damaging statues is the clearest example of the Government getting its priorities completely wrong.”
There will be two years’ jail for attacking shop and transport workers and a legal right for anti-social behaviour victims to have complaints investigated by police.
Sir Keir, 58, who was Director of Public Prosecutions for five years from 2008, added: “ Labour has not been strong enough on crime and policing in the past.
I have spent a good deal of my professional life prosecuting criminals.
“We need to get serious about anti-social behaviour.
“Abuse and intimidation ruins lives to the point where people no longer feel safe to come out of their homes.”
Sir Keir became Labour leader with 56.2% of the vote a year ago today, four months after Jeremy Corbyn led the party to its biggest defeat in 85 years.
“I’ve not made a speech to a live audience or shaken a voter’s hand since,” he said. “It’s been beyond frustrating.”
He told us this time last year his task was to “win back the trust of the country.”
Sir Keir said: “The work we have to do will take more than a year. I needed to make it clear in Year One Labour was under new leadership and to root out anti-Semitism.
“In Year Two I will set out the case for getting Britain working. After the pandemic we can’t just patch up the broken system we had before.
“The main reason we had Europe’s highest death toll and the worst economic impact is because of the weakened foundations after 10 years of austerity.
“But we will only rebuild trust by listening good and hard to voters and communities. We have made the Labour Party relevant again.
“During the leadership race I was being asked whether the Labour Party would even survive. Now I’m being asked why we’re not ahead in the polls! We were as good as relegated but now we’re back on the pitch and can build from here.”
Local elections are only 34 days away and with so many postponed from last year they will become a national test of Labour’s popularity.
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Sir Keir does not accept the findings of Dr Tony Sewell’s much-panned race relations report last week which concluded there is no evidence of institutional racism in Britain.
“I was disappointed,” Sir Keir said. “It acknowledged the challenges but was reluctant to accept the structural nature of those challenges.”
Today the Labour leader was hoping for another football game after his first five-a-side outing since lockdown on Monday.
But it has been put off until tomorrow.
“Probably a good thing,” he said. “It was fantastic being back on the pitch but I really felt it later.”