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Labour has ‘mountain to climb’ to win next general election

LABOUR has a “mountain to climb” to win the next election, deputy leader Angela Rayner said yesterday in the run-up to the start of the party’s virtual conference this weekend.

Ms Rayner will open the women’s conference, called Women Connected, today before giving the keynote speech at the beginning of the general conference, Labour Connected, tomorrow.

The events are taking place online in place of the normal annual party conference because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ms Rayner, who is also Labour’s chairwoman, insisted that the party is committed to restoring “the British people’s trust in Labour as a party of government.”

The party lost 59 seats at the 2019 general election, suffering the most painful defeats in its pro-Brexit northern heartlands.

Remainer Sir Keir Starmer, who succeeded Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader earlier this year, is offering to help Boris Johnson “get Brexit done” if the Prime Minister drops his plans to override parts of the withdrawal agreement with the European Union that relate to the north of Ireland.

He has urged Mr Johnson to “get on with Brexit and defeat the virus,” adding that this should be the government’s mantra.

Speaking ahead of the virtual conference, Ms Rayner said: “Over the next four days, the Labour Party will show what we can achieve with a new leadership for our party and for our country.

“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.

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

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds will address the conference on Monday and Sir Keir will deliver the closing speech the following day.

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