Protester disrupts Keir Starmer’s manifesto launch

A climate protester disrupted Sir Keir Starmer’s General Election manifesto launch, complaining Labour was offering “the same old Tory policies”.

The Labour leader had just begun his speech in Manchester when a woman in the audience began heckling him before being swiftly escorted out by security.

Holding up a banner that read “Youth deserve better,” she shouted: “My generation is being let down by the Labour Party and this manifesto.

“You say that you’re offering change but it’s the same old Tory policies.

“We need better. The climate can’t wait.

“We need a green new deal now.”

Sir Keir, who is no stranger to being interrupted by protesters, quickly hit back that Labour “gave up on being a party of protest” after Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

“We gave up on being a party of protest five years ago, we want to be a party in power,” he said to loud applause and cheers from the audience as the demonstrator was bundled out by a security guard.

Sir Keir added: “That’s not in the script, but that is part of the change.”

The Green New Deal Rising campaign group, which described itself as a movement of young people fighting for climate justice, said it was behind the action.

The group named the protester as 27-year-old Alice, who said in a statement: “I disrupted the Labour Party’s manifesto launch today because I feel so betrayed and disappointed by what the Labour Party is offering at this election…

“The next parliament really is our last chance to put in place the kind of policies that will make a real difference to stopping catastrophic climate change and making people’s quality of life better. But all Labour is offering is warm words and tinkering around the edges.

“As young people we won’t forget that in the last years we had to secure a liveable future for our generation, the Labour party turned its back on us. At this election our movement is organising to demand a Green New Deal – a plan for decent jobs, warm homes, and a future that we can look forward to.”

Fatima Ibrahim, Green New Deal Rising’s co-director, added that Labour’s plans “simply don’t touch the sides” when it comes to tackling the climate crisis.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer on stage in Manchester
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer replied to the heckler that Labour had stopped being a ‘party of protest’ (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

During the unveiling of his party’s offer to voters, Sir Keir also said he had dragged Labour away from the “dead end of gesture politics” and it was now “time to change Britain”.

The manifesto did not contain any surprise announcements beyond what Sir Keir had already set out.

Referencing an absence of a “rabbit out of the hat”, he said in his speech: “If you want politics as pantomime, I hear Clacton is nice this time of year.”

The Essex seat is where newly installed Reform UK leader Nigel Farage is campaigning to become an MP.

Last October, the Labour leader was confronted by a glitter-throwing protester before he could deliver his keynote speech to the party’s conference.

He pushed the activist away from the microphone before security arrived and was then forced to take off his glitter-covered suit jacket.

Sir Keir’s handling of the stage invasion earned praise from his shadow cabinet, with one frontbencher musing that he would give Britain its “sparkle” back.