Labour argues ‘cavalry is coming’ after ‘reckless’ Tory economic strategy

Labour argues ‘cavalry is coming’ after ‘reckless’ Tory economic strategy

Voters can be reassured that the “cavalry is coming” in the form of the Labour party, the shadow health secretary said, as his party was buoyed by promising polling amid financial turmoil under the Conservatives.

Wes Streeting squarely blamed Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s “reckless and irresponsible choices” for the weakening of the pound and lenders withdrawing some of their mortgages over the prospect of a further interest rate hike.

The Labour frontbencher argued that voters are realising “risk isn’t change with Labour, it’s continuity with the Conservatives”.

Senior figures at the Labour conference in Liverpool were cautiously optimistic after a YouGov survey suggested the party has opened up a 17-point lead over the Conservatives.

In his leader’s speech on Tuesday, Sir Keir Starmer will quote his election-winning predecessor Sir Tony Blair by dubbing Labour the “political wing of the British people”.

He will outline an ambition to “turn the UK into a growth superpower” as he argues Labour is the party of “sound money”.

Mr Streeting accused Prime Minister Liz Truss and her Chancellor of offering a “reckless gamble” rather than “serious leadership”.

“The cavalry is coming with Labour,” he told Sky News.

“We’ve got serious people, with a serious plan that would make an enormous difference to families right across the country and to businesses, who are the backbone of our economy and will be the bedrock of economic growth.”

YouGov polling for the Times conducted over the weekend put Labour on 45% with the Tories on 28% – the greatest lead since the firm began polling in 2001.

Mr Streeting welcomed the result as showing there is now a serious chance of victory but insisted Labour will not be taking voters for granted.

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Former prime minister Sir Tony Blair (Victoria Jones/PA)

He said Sir Keir needs to “turn the anger and frankly disgust with the Conservatives into a positive appetite for Labour”.

“We’re not relying on the Conservatives to fail to be in Government. We’ve got a positive, serious alternative to offer the country,” he told Sky News.

Mr Streeting backed ditching plans to ban buy one, get one free deals on junk food during the cost-of-living crisis.

The shadow health secretary told BBC Breakfast: “There are good public health arguments for banning such offers.

“I’m not tin-eared enough to say that a Labour government would do that in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. I don’t think that would be the right thing to do right now.”

Sir Keir’s direct quoting of Sir Tony, the last Labour leader to win a general election, also seeks to put further distance between himself and his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn.

Sir Tony referred to New Labour as the “political wing of the British people” ahead of his landslide 1997 election victory, in a departure from the party being described as the political wing of the union movement.

A Labour spokesman said echoing Sir Tony is an intentional move to show that Labour is “back in the centre ground” and in the “mainstream” of public opinion.

“Ultimately he wants to be the next Labour leader who takes the party from opposition into government,” the spokesman said.

He accepted Sir Keir has overhauled the party to distance it from the one led to two general election defeats under Mr Corbyn, who is sitting as an independent MP as he fights suspension.

“We’ve changed the party to make sure we’re in tune with the instincts and aspirations of the British people once again,” the spokesman said.

Labour Party Conference 2022
Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer leads tributes to Queen Elizabeth II as the national anthem is sung during the Labour Party conference in Liverpool (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

One of the changes to the party he was noting was how he opened the party’s conference with a tribute to the Queen in the form of singing the national anthem.

Sir Keir’s strategy to boost growth includes a green prosperity plan to create one million new jobs in towns and cities across the country.

He is committing to begin this mission, to also include bringing down energy bills, raising living standards and tackling the climate crisis, within 100 days of forming a government.

To achieve this, he will say, requires “a different way of working”, developing “the biggest partnership between government, business and communities this country has ever seen”.

He is also expected to set out a plan to get 1.5 million more people onto the housing ladder.

Labour will also raise stamp duty on foreign buyers and stop overseas investors purchasing entire blocks of flats before they are put on the market for local people, the Daily Mirror reported.

The party leader will set a target for 70% of the population to own their own home in the first five years of a Labour administration, up from 65%, declaring: “Labour is the party of home ownership in Britain today.”

Sir Keir is set to attack the Conservatives on the economy by saying: “What we’ve seen from the Government in the past few days has no precedent.

“They’ve lost control of the British economy – and for what? For tax cuts for the richest 1% in our society.”

The Labour spokesman argued the party would borrow less than the Tories, after Mr Kwarteng revealed the biggest package of tax cuts for 50 years.

But the aide conceded that the party was accepting a higher level of borrowing than before the Chancellor’s package of tax cuts last Friday.

Sir Keir is pledging to reverse the abolition of the top rate of tax for the nation’s wealthiest but ss supporting the reduction of the bottom rate to 19p in the pound.

Labour Party Conference 2022
Party leader Sir Keir Starmer with shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (Stefan Rosseau/PA)

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has said her fiscal rules set out that increased borrowing is permitted during national emergencies.

Sir Keir will declare that Labour will get the UK “out of this endless cycle of crisis with a fresh start, a new set of priorities and a new way of governing”.

“We should never be left cowering in a brace position, worrying about how to get through a winter. It’s time for Britain to stand tall again,” he will add.