Labour promises ‘new leadership’ at virtual conference as Angela Rayner condemns Government’s ‘serial incompetence’

Angela Rayner hit out at the Government’s “serial incompetence” as she opened this year’s Labour Party conference.

The deputy leader hailed the party’s “new leadership” as she kicked off the virtual Labour Connected event on Sunday.

Ms Rayner said Labour will be campaigning on three economic priorities of “jobs, jobs, jobs” in the months ahead.

“Over the next three days, we will show what we can achieve with a new leadership for our party and for our country,” she said.

“At this time of national crisis, we are offering the country the leadership it needs.

“We will act in the best interests of the British people and in our shared mission to defeat this terrible virus.

“We will call this failing government out for its serial incompetence that is holding Britain back.”

Her comments came as Boris Johnson told reporters the UK is “now seeing a second wave coming in” and Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned ministers will have to take more measures if the public does not follow Covid-19 regulations.

Ms Rayner said the country is facing the prospect of another national lockdown because of the Prime Minister’s “failure and incompetence”.

“Last Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions, I faced a prime minister who pretends he’s a man of the people but has shown his contempt for women and the working class,” the Ashton-under-Lyne MP said.

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“As a single mum, he said my children would grow up ill-raised, ignorant and illegitimate.

“He only knows one approach – denying that problems exist and then blaming other people for his own incompetence.

“We are facing a second spike, further restrictions and the prospect of another national lockdown because of his failure and incompetence.”

She also accused Mr Johnson of continually trying to blame others for the Government’s failings.

“Never has there been a prime minister more out of his depth and ill-equipped to the task than this Bullingdon Club blagger,” she told the online conference.

“He lights up Downing Street green for Grenfell and then whips Tory MPs to block the Grenfell inquiry recommendations.

“He claps for our carers when it suits him for a photo opportunity but he doesn’t even know what they earn and won’t pay them what they deserve.

Angela Rayner reads message from ‘a man called Keir‘ as she deputises for Labour leader at PMQs

“He calls a Covid war cabinet to allow grouse shooting when the frontline staff can’t get the tests they need and people can’t say goodbye to their loved ones.

“Yet it’s always somebody else’s fault – civil servants, the public health body they voted to create in the first place, or even the public for doing the right thing and trying to get a Covid test.”

Sir Keir Starmer explained his party’s new motto of “new leadership” on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge programme.

He said: “We are making it clear we’re a new leadership and that means being absolutely clear about recognising the scale of the defeat last December.

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Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer being interviewed by host Andrew Marr (PA)

“That was devastating for the Labour Party, devastating for the Labour movement and for the millions of people who desperately needed Labour government.

“So, recognising that, listening to those that no longer vote Labour, and I’ve spent the last six months listening and asking for conversations with people that are difficult rather than easy, and changing and focusing on the future.

“That means difficult decisions like tackling anti-Semitism. So, a new leadership focused on 2024, but absolutely recognising the scale of the task we face.”

Sadiq Khan was due on Sunday to stage a virtual rally of supporters to launch his campaign for a second term in the delayed May 2021 local elections.

The Mayor of London criticised the “hapless” Government over its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Khan told Labour’s virtual conference: “Unfortunately, and it gives me no pleasure to say this, we’ve all been catastrophically let down by the Government.

“If ministers had risen to this moment, as the British public have, then the loss of many lives and much of the economic hardship could have been avoided.

“These times called for a government that could put ideology, dogma and ego aside, and calmly and competently do whatever it takes to save lives and jobs.

“Unfortunately, we got the exact opposite. Just when we required a steady, capable hand on the tiller, we’ve had a hapless government that keeps on steering us onto the rocks.”

The Liberal Democrats are due to run their conference from September 25 to 28 while viewers can tune in for the Conservative conference from October 3 to 6.


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