'The NHS Trumps Woke': Keir Starmer Slams Tories Over Culture Wars

Labour leader to warn shadow cabinet "there's still work to be done" to win next election.
Keir Starmer with Labour party members after taking overall control of Medway Council for the first time since 1998.
Keir Starmer with Labour party members after taking overall control of Medway Council for the first time since 1998.
Gareth Fuller - PA Images via Getty Images

Keir Starmer has declared that “the NHS trumps woke” as he slammed the Tories for focusing on culture wars rather than public services.

The Labour leader will on Tuesday address his shadow cabinet for the first time since last week’s local elections, in which they gained more than 500 councillors and take control of 22 more local authorities.

At the same time, the Tories lost more than 1,000 seats and 48 councils on a disastrous night for Rishi Sunak.

However, polling experts said that if the results were replicated across the country at a general election, Labour would fall short of winning an overall majority.

Starmer will tell his frontbench colleagues that while the party has “started to earn back voters’ trust” after Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, it still has more to do to convince the public that it deserves to be in government.

He will say: “The local elections showed that the country was desperate for change.

“The fact that Labour won in all parts of the country was a sign of the strides we have made. People who turned away from us during the Corbyn years and the Brexit years are coming back.

“But there is understandably a lot of scepticism about politics out there and now we need to go from reassurance to hope. We need to show that we will be a big reforming government bringing hope of a better life for working people.”

Starmer believes the Tories made a strategic blunder in believing that so-called “woke” issues like the trans debate were more important to voters than the cost of living crisis and the state of the NHS.

He will say: “Labour’s plan to rebuild the NHS will be at the heart of our offer to the British people. The Tories are doing too little, too late to repair the damage they have done to the NHS.

“The NHS trumps ‘woke’ every day of the week.”

His comments echo the views of many Tories, who have criticised the “non-existent” campaign by the party’s HQ.

One told HuffPost UK: “Nobody cares about all of the culture war stuff – what they really want is the potholes to be fixed.”

One local Conservative association chair also wrote to colleagues saying the local election results were “not a reflection on us, it was part of the national picture”.


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