SIR Keir Starmer has said Labour is a “deeply patriotic” but not a “nationalist” party as he set out his new contract with the British people and vision for government.

The UK Labour leader said “security, prosperity and respect” would be the basis of any future administration, delivered with “straight leadership”. 

He said the Tories had forfeited the public’s trust under Boris Johnson, conceding Labour would not automatically inherit it instead, but had to earn it.

He said: “The Labour Party is not a nationalist party. But it is a national party. Because a nation gives us a place to belong.”

He added: "I believe in our union of nations. I believe we are better together than any of us would be apart.

"I believe that each nation can speak with a progressive voice.

“But we need a new and durable constitutional settlement. Which is why I am delighted that Gordon Brown ’s Commission on the Future of the UK will chart a new course for our union of nations.”

The dig at nationalism, delivered standing in front of a Union flag, reinforced the Labour leader’s rejection of a pact with the SNP in order to enter Downing Street.

The emphasis on patriotism was also a coded rebuke to the Jeremy Corbyn era, when Labour was perceived by some critics as lacking patriotism. 

In his speech in Birmingham, Sir Keir announced he would hold a series of events across the country in the coming months to persuade people to sign up to his vision of a “new Britain”.

He said his “contract” with the British people would have a binding commitment to decency in office as its “first clause”, honouring the Nolan principles of standards on public life.

He said: “I have a very clear idea of what a Labour government would look like. And, in 2022, I want to take my plans to the British people.

“I want to create a contract defined by security, prosperity and respect.

“To create a contract for a government worthy of the fine nation in which we live. The Labour Party is a deeply patriotic party.”

He went on: “I came into politics to make things happen, not just to talk about them. I don’t think politics is a branch of the entertainment industry. I think it’s the serious business of getting things done.

“But I’m afraid at the moment we are going backwards. We have a Prime Minister who thinks the rules apply to anyone but him.

“Just when trust in Government has become a matter of life and death, for the Prime Minister it has become a matter of what he can get away with.” 

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He repeatedly emphasised that Labour was a “patriotic party” and that his contract would be a “solemn agreement”, setting out how a good government should conduct itself.

He said: “I am well aware that just because the Tories lose the public’s trust it doesn’t mean Labour simply inherits it. Trust has to be earned. I am confident but not complacent about the task ahead”.

Sir Keir also sought to associate himself with Labour’s previous electoral winners - Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson and Tony Blair - while omitting Jeremy Corbyn and other losers.

He said: “When I reflect on previous Labour governments, I have two thoughts. The first is what a record we have. These three chapters of change - Attlee, Wilson and Blair - made Britain a better country.

“We must be the people who write the fourth chapter. The people who create a new Britain in the 21st century.”

“Second, nobody could look on that record and say that Labour is not a patriotic party. Those Labour governments had the ambition to build a society in which everyone can contribute and everyone is valued.

“To extend security, prosperity and respect to all. This is the tradition we embrace and the mission we inherit.”

Asked why he had selected those three leaders, Sir Keir Starmer said: “I don’t apologise for mentioning Attlee, Wilson and Blair. The thing that unites those three very different prime ministers is that they all won. They all won. 

“They introduced Labour governments that changed Britain for the better and I want to be the fourth in that list writing the next chapter of our history.

“So, I have always cited Attlee, Wilson and Blair precisely because they won. 

“And unless the Labour Party is absolutely clear that our whole purpose as a party is to win power to govern to change the lives of millions of people, then we will be talking politics and not doing politics. So, no apology about that at all.”

He also said he was “very proud” to stand in front of the Union flag.

“I’ve done it many times before, including when I was director of public prosecutions representing our country 10 years ago. So, I’ve always been very proud to do so.”

He added: “It’s not just the flag that drives our patriotism. As I said in the speech, it’s really the values that lie behind that.

“The values I’ve outlined today of security and prosperity and respect. They’re the three values that lie behind patriotism as far as I’m concerned.”