Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy has told the BBC that Labour wants voters to know “we stand up for Britain, we stand up for British people, we stand up for British interests and we will always put that first”.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, the shadow cabinet member said: “I think it is progressive and deeply ambitious to say that you love this country, that you love the people in it, and that’s why you want to lead the party.
“I think you’ll see a real change in tone and approach from the Labour Party. I think you’ve already seen it, that we’ve set out in a number of areas, including in my area of foreign policy, that we stand up for Britain, we stand up for British people, we stand up for British interests and we will always put that first.”
Starmer put forward Labour’s patriotic pitch to the country at a speech to Labour’s ‘Connected’ conference today, saying: “We love this country as you do. This is the country I grew up in and this is the country I will grow old in.”
Nandy was later asked on BBC Politics Live about Starmer’s ten pledges during the Labour leadership election earlier this year, and specifically the pledge to raise income tax for top 5% of earners and reverse Tory cuts to corporation tax.
Asked whether the first pledge had now been scrapped in light of the Labour frontbench recently expressing its opposition to any tax increases, Nandy replied: “I expect so, based on what you just said.
“In the middle of a global pandemic… the idea of raising taxes and squeezing people who are in work and trying to make ends meet is just completely the wrong priority for the country.”
Asked about Starmer’s fifth pledge on common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water, Nandy said: “I think giving the public much more control over how those things work, so that they work in the public interest, is right.”
She added: “We want to see those public utilities work much better. There are different ways to do that. Bringing them back into public hands is one way of doing it; giving the public much more control is another.”
On Labour’s support for new Covid rules, Nandy told BBC Radio 4: “We want to see the evidence and we have challenged the government where they’re getting it wrong especially on test, trace and isolate…
“But what we’re not going to do is try and undermine the public health advice that is based on scientific evidence, which the government hasn’t shared with us and hasn’t shared with the country.
“We want them to share that evidence so people understand why they’re being asked to follow the rules that they are, because if people understand it they will follow the rules.”
Starmer told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that Labour would be supportive of the government’s new Covid restrictions, set to be announced today, saying: “Whatever measure the government takes, we will support it”.