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Election 2024: Give Labour ‘clear mandate’ for change, Starmer urges

Labour will “need a clear mandate for this change”, Sir Keir Starmer has said. Photo: PA
Labour will “need a clear mandate for this change”, Sir Keir Starmer has said. Photo: PA

Labour will “need a clear mandate for this change”, Sir Keir Starmer has said as he urged activists on to “the hardest mile” at a rally ahead of the final days of the election campaign.

The Labour leader said: “We have one job, to make sure its a summer of change.”

Speaking at a rally at the Royal Horticultural Hall in central London, Sir Keir told the crowd: “This is the final furlong. This is the last push. The last mile, the hardest mile.”

Starmer added: “Change doesn’t happen unless you vote for it. Nothing is decided, not a single vote has been won or lost, and each and every vote is out there.”

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At the 2019 general election, according to the House of Commons library, 17.2 per cent of voters cast their ballot by postal vote – and that is expected to be higher at this election, with many people having already cast their ballot ahead of Starmer’s speech.

At the event, which saw the party secure endorsements from comedian Bill Bailey, Game of Thrones actor Kit Harrington, and musical legend Sir Elton John, he pledged: “If you do vote Labour on Thursday we can promise that the work of change will begin immediately.”

But he stressed: “We’ll need a clear mandate for this change, don’t doubt that.”

And warning against complacency, in an echo of Labour’s so-called Ming vase strategy throughout the campaign, Starmer said: “Imagine, if you dare, waking up on July 5, and the Tories are back in.

“It could happen, if we take our foot off the gas, if people think its all in the bag. Undecided voters and there are millions of them. It could happen.”

He called the possibility of a Labour win on Thursday a “democratic reckoning”, before dubbing the Conservatives “swanning around the House of Lords”.

Labour is reportedly set to appoint dozens of peers to the upper chamber within weeks, according to the Guardian, in what the party framed as a bid to elevate women and ensure it could get its legislative priorities passed into law.

Key aides chief of staff Sue Gray and campaign director Morgan McSweeney were spotted at the event attended by Labour activists, party members and shadow cabinet ministers.

Labour posters emblazoned with ‘Change. Be part of it’ and ‘Vote Labour’ were hung from the ceiling, while activists wore red ‘Change’ t-shirts and brandished Union Jack signs.

High profile attendees included London mayor Sadiq Khan, shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, deputy national campaign coordinator Ellie Reeves, and Camden council leader Georgia Gould, running in Queen’s Park and Maida Vale.