Sir Keir Starmer has pledged a “Britain built to last” with a new generation of towns in a major pitch to the nation about why he should be the next prime minister.
Delivering a keynote speech at the annual party conference in Liverpool, the Labour leader promised to build 1.5 million homes by reforming the planning system and shaking up the green belt so “dreary wasteland” can be earmarked for development.
Sir Keir – who is setting his sights on two terms to turn around “13 years of Tory decline” – said the country needed a “decade of national renewal”.
He said in his speech he was seeking “to answer the question ‘why Labour?’ with a plan for a Britain built to last”.
He said: “It’s time to get Britain building again, it’s time to build one and a half million homes across the country… new development corporations with powers to remove the blockers.”
He added: “Sometimes the old Labour ideas are right for new times, so where there are good jobs, good infrastructure, we will get shovels in the ground and cranes in the sky and build the next generation of new towns.”
He said that “doesn’t mean tearing up the greenbelt… but where there are clearly ridiculous uses for it” like disused car parks, “then this can’t be justified as a reason to hold our future back”.
He spoke after a protester climbed on the stage and showered him with glitter just before being hauled away by security.