Keir Starmer seems to have won over members, now he must turn attention to the masses

Despite the peppering of hecklers, the crowd on the conference floor yesterday afternoon were overwhelmingly supportive of Sir Keir Starmer’s headline speech.

Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer leaves the stage after delivering his keynote speech to the Labour Party conference in Brighton (PA)

With the standing ovations for New Labour policies and the promise of a green revolution, the man who took to the helm of Labour after its worst election defeat in almost a century signalled that the dial had been reset.

Of course, there are still those on the party’s left wing with their disagreements, but if anything, those determined to interrupt the leader’s first in-person conference address only served to enhance his image, as they were drowned out by the applause when he swatted their comments aside.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However, General Elections are not lost and won in conference suites, they are decided in swing seats and on doorsteps, and key to the next ballot will be the Red Wall that Labour so dramatically let slide from its grip last time around.

The north of England now probably holds the keys to Number 10.

There was only scant mention of the idea of levelling up, the lack of this phrase perhaps understandable given that it was one of the promises that sealed the Conservative victory in 2019.

The test will be whether Sir Keir can turn the big political ideological ideas into policies that win back those who ticked the blue box rather than the red box for the first time last time around.

Will the post-industrial areas who have felt left behind by the party their parents, grandparents, and generations before those voted for be excited by the pledges on green jobs?

Will the parents of children who missed months of school due to the pandemic be inspired by the idea of a rejuvenated curriculum promising the digital skills needed for a modern workforce?

As his first time in the headline slot on Labour’s stage, this speech had to be an address to the nation. But at some point between now and the next general election, Sir Keir will need to appeal directly to his lost Red Wall if he wants to make his victory speech on those famous front steps.

Labour is still electable in the north of England: Yorkshire mayors Tracy Brabin and Dan Jarvis alongside their Labour colleagues in Liverpool and Manchester are testament to that, but people have shown that they are not yet willing to put that same faith into the party when it comes to Parliament,

Sir Keir has won over the members. His attention now must turn to the masses.