Labour leader Keir Starmer kicks off general election campaign in Medway

Angela Rainer, Keir Starmer, Naushabah Khan launch Labour's election campaign with party supporters at Gillingham FC's Priestfield Stadium
-Credit: (Image: LDRS)

Sir Keir Starmer has officially kicked off his party's general election campaign at a Kent football ground. The Labour leader was joined by his deputy, Angela Rainer at Gillingham FC’s Priestfield Stadium on Thursday morning (May 23).

Naushabah Khan, candidate for the Gillingham and Rainham constituency seeking to unseat incumbent Tory Rehman Chishti, along with local councillors and supporters, were also at the event. It followed the surprise announcement by Rishi Sunak on Wednesday that a general election would take place on July 4.

Labour has high hopes for the three Medway constituencies, having taking control of the council last year. After his rain-soaked Downing Street announcement, Mr Sunak held a launch event at London’s Excel centre on Wednesday night.

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In a speech at Gillingham FC, Sir Keir said he was glad the election had been called to put an end to “chaos and divison” under the Tories. He said the country was desperate for change and cited people around the country who were having to make sacrifices because of the government.

He talked about families who were choosing not to have a second child because their finances could no longer manage the cost and people who were having to pull out their own teeth because they are unable to see an NHS dentist.

He added: “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 prospective prime minister also said he wanted to sort out public services and repair the damage done by the Tories to council finances. Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) he said: “What you’re seeing in Medway and other places is the damage that 14 years of a Tory government have done.

“We’ve seen councils across the country struggling financially because of the chaos of this government. We want to change that. We want to ensure we’ve got a stable economy with strong fiscal rules so we don’t have that sort of turbulence because voters are worried about their public services.

“So I’m pleased that we may be on the cusp of being able to change the chaos and division that’s caused so much difficulty under this government for so many councils.”

Also among the crowd of supporters was Labour’s Dover and Deal candidate, Mike Tapp, Rochester and Strood candidate Lauren Edwards, and Medway Council leader Vince Maple.

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