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Campaigners vow to stage protest Starmer will ‘not be able to ignore’ during party conference speech

Parliamentary reporter @TrinderMatt

DEFEND the Left vowed today to stage a protest that Sir Keir Starmer will “not be able to ignore” during the Labour leader’s speech to the party conference in Brighton. 

The grassroots campaign group said that next Wednesday’s demonstration would highlight the “McCarthy-style purge” of socialists from the party and the “climate of fear” that it has created.

A Defend the Left spokesperson blasted the “barrage of dirty tricks unleashed against the membership” since Sir Keir replaced Jeremy Corbyn as party leader last year.

“Members have been suspended, expelled, local parties paralysed, elections fixed.

“Even in the week running up to conference, delegates have been suspended on the basis of social media posts from years ago.

“This is a clear attempt to rig the outcome of votes at conference. But we will not roll over — we are fighting back.”

The group refused to reveal what form the protest would take, but it promised that the action would be “extremely effective and Starmer will absolutely not be able to ignore it.”

The demo will take place at a undisclosed Brighton venue, with details set to released only two hours before the event. 

A mass protest outside the conference venue is also planned from noon tomorrow, the first day of the annual five-day gathering, as well as on Monday evening, when speakers will include rapper and activist Lowkey.

The announcement coincided with Sir Keir unveiling “10 key principles” behind his pitch to run the country, which omit many of the left-wing pledges that helped win him the party leadership election in April 2020.

Promises to pursue economic justice, common ownership, equality and to defend migrants’ rights were not mentioned in his 14,000-word essay, entitled The Road Ahead, published today.

Instead, there were commitments to “put hard-working families first,” reward people who “work hard and play by the rules” and restore “honesty, decency and transparency in public life.”

Reacting to the new pledges, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “It reads like a focus-group-crafted version of the Sermon on the Mount, filled with platitudes but with no content of what a Labour government would actually do.”

Labour MP Jon Trickett, Mr Corbyn’s former campaign co-ordinator, accused Sir Keir of “a policy-free retread” of New Labour soundbites.

The party has been contacted for comment. 


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