Sir Keir Starmer told the Labour conference that "the Scottish people are looking at Britain" as he offered voters an alternative version of the UK than the one shaped by the Conservatives over the past 13 years.

His key note address in Liverpool was met by huge applause by the audience hopeful that their party is on the cusp of seizing power at Westminster next year.

A glitter-throwing protester managed to get onto the stage before Sir Keir could deliver his speech with the interruption serving to boost support for the leader who praised the spirit of people in the UK despite the “Tory project to kick the hope out of this country”.

Sir Keir set his sights on a “decade of national renewal” under Labour, suggesting he wants at least two terms in power.

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Some of the loudest cheers and biggest standing ovations were for Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and the new MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, fresh from the party's by-election victory last week.

"I want to thank Anas for his inspiring leadership in that campaign and beyond. And Michael Shanks, who will serve his community with dignity, pride and determination," he said.

"Scotland can lead the way to a Labour government. But be under no illusions. We must earn every vote. And we must understand that the Scottish people are not just looking at us. They are also looking at Britain."

Mr Starmer attacked his political opponents on both sides of the border presenting the SNP as incompetent in running the Scottish Government and the Conservatives as "dangerous".

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"For the first time in a long time we can see a tide that is turning. Four nations are renewing. Old wounds of division exploited by the Tories and the SNP beginning to heal," he said.

"So let the message from Rutherglen ring out across Britain. Labour serves working people in Scotland because Labour serves working people across these islands."

He alluded to the SNP's troubles which have helped increase support for his party and warned that Labour would face "a fight" with both Humza Yousaf's and Rishi Sunak's parties.

"The SNP will regroup, of course they will. Once again they will wave away the lessons of history. Try to present nationalism as a bridge to the world," he said.

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"We have to remind them it can barely provide a ferry to the Hebrides. As for the Tories, I have to warn you, a party that has so completely severed its relationship with the future, that is prepared to scorch the earth just to get at us. They will be dangerous."

Labour MSPs were enthusiastic about what their leader had to say with several noting the importance put on Scotland in the speech.

Martin Whitfield, Colin Smyth, Daniel Johnson, Michael Marra, Paul Sweeney and Sarah Boyack were among the party's politicians who had travelled to Liverpool for the conference.

"It is lovely to see a confident Labour back," Mr Whitfield told The Herald.

Mr Smyth said: "It was fantastic to see that focus on Scotland...People in Scotland are desperate for change but you don't need independence to get change - you need a change of government and for that change to be delivered across the whole of the UK."

Mr Marra added that Sir Keir's goal to address the cost of living crisis across the UK was a highlight of the address for him.

 "It was a clear message that he understands the challenges that people are going through. For me when I speak to people the cost of living is the number one issue." 

For Labour activists the speech was 'inspirational' and presented a vision of a hopeful and forward thinking Britain.

"I just thought it was inspirational," Samantha Simmonds, a councillor in Yorkshire, told The Herald. "We've shown today that we are ready to govern."

Retired couple Jane and Clive Baldwin, from Merseyside, said Sir Keir's speech gave people in Britain hope for the future.

"There was lots of hope, though clearly it will be a challenge after this current terrible, terrible government," said Mr Baldwin, 69, a retired procurement official.

Mrs Baldwin, 68, a former deputy head teacher, added: "Unfortunately for many Scottish people, their view of what England is like comes from the Conservative government. But we've heard today it can be so much better." 

Promising to reshape the country with 1.5 million homes including new towns, modernised infrastructure and support for green industries, Sir Keir said “the fire of change still burns in Britain” and it “lives on in Labour”.

And if he did win the keys to No 10, the scale of the challenge would be immense compared with his predecessors, he told the party faithful.

“If you think our job in 1997 was to rebuild a crumbling public realm, that in 1964 it was to modernise an economy left behind by the pace of technology, in 1945 to build a new Britain out of the trauma of collective sacrifice, then in 2024 it will have to be all three," he said.

Sir Keir put reforming the “restrictive planning system” at the core of his plan to secure economic growth.

The system was “a blockage that stops this country building roads, grid connections, laboratories, trainlines, warehouses, windfarms, power stations” and “an obstacle to the aspirations of millions”.

The plan to “get Britain building again” would “fight the blockers who hold a veto over British aspiration”.

The 1.5 million homes promised by would involve new development corporations with powers to cut through red tape and the creation of the “next generation of Labour new towns”.

He insisted his plans would not mean “tearing up the green belt” but building could take place on areas where that protection was “clearly ridiculous”.

Sir Keir was forced to take off his suit jacket after the glitter-throwing incident, but insisted it showed why he had changed his party from one of protest to one ready for power.

The protester who stormed the stage was wearing a t-shirt which appears to tie him to a group called People Demand Democracy.

The man was removed from the conference building through a rear exit by two police officers before being placed in a police van.

In a nod to New Labour, Sir Keir said the country had “13 years of ‘things can only get better’ versus 13 years of ‘things have only got worse’”.

“This is what we have to fight: the Tory project to kick the hope out of this country. Drain the reservoirs of our belief.”

He told activists: “I have to warn you: our way back from this will be hard, but know this: what is broken can be repaired.

“What is ruined can be rebuilt. Wounds do heal. And ultimately that project – their project – will crash against the spirit of working people in this country. They are the source of my hope.”

Sir Keir set out the importance of helping people with the cost-of-living squeeze, claiming that Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party could not understand the way people were suffering.

He said the squeeze on living standards “intrudes on the little things we love, whittles away at our joy”.

“Days out, meals out, holidays, the first things people cut back on. Picking up a treat in the supermarket just to put it back on the shelf.”

He added: “Conference, we have to be a government that takes care of the big decisions so working people have the freedom to enjoy what they love.”

But for “people like Rishi Sunak” they “cannot see the country before them, the walls of Westminster are so high”.

Sir Keir said there would be a “hard road” to reform the NHS, transforming it from a “sickness service” to one which focused on preventing illness.

“The Conservative Party that brought our NHS to its knees will put it in the ground,” he warned.
“We have got to get it back on its feet.”

He has promised to end non-dom tax status to funnel money into the health service and said

Labour would create “a Britain built to last. Where working people are respected, crime is prosecuted, ambulances come, the minimum wage is enforced, infrastructure gets built, children feel safe in their classroom, business and workers unite in partnership”.

“No more bonuses for people pumping sewage into our rives. No more pensioners freezing while energy firms make record profits.

“No more government contracts awarded via the back door. No more cleaners mocked as they scrub mess off the walls of illegal parties in Westminster.”