Keir Starmer trolled the Tories this morning by pledging to bring in a “Take Back Control Act” if he becomes prime minister.
The Labour leader turned the famous Brexit slogan against the Conservative Party in his first major speech of 2023.
He said the new law would see sweeping new powers transferred from Westminster to the UK’s nations and regions.
Starmer said that while he campaigned for Remain, he could not disagree with the “basic case” many Leave voters made to him.
“The control people want is control over their lives and their communities,” Starmer told an audience in east London.
“So we will embrace the ‘take back control message’ but we’ll turn it from a slogan to a solution, from a catchphrase into change.”
The Labour leader pledged to spread control out of Westminster by devolving new powers over everything from employment support and transport to energy, climate change and housing.
“All this will be in a new ‘Take Back Control Bill’ a centrepiece of our first King’s speech,” Starmer added.
He is a passionate advocate of devolution — delegation of power outside of Westminster — as the best alternative to independence in Scotland.
Starmer made his speech the day after prime minister Rishi Sunak laid out five promises to the British public.
The Labour leader accused Sunak of offering the country only “more promises, more platitudes” and hit out at “sticking plaster politics”.
Flanked by party members, Starmer told the audience in Stratford that his promises “should not be taken as code for Labour getting its big government chequebook out again”.
“Of course, investment is required – I can see the damage the Tories have done to our public services as plainly as anyone else.
“But we won’t be able to spend our way out of their mess – it’s not as simple as that.”
The speech came as Sunak grapples with severe pressures in the NHS, ongoing strike action and the cost of living crisis.
The Labour leader, whose party would abolish and replace the House of Lords if it wins the next election and replace it with a regionally elected chamber, said that the country needs a new approach to politics and the economy.
On the NHS, Starmer said that crises affecting the country have each been “an iceberg on the horizon”.