LABOUR leadership hopeful Sir Keir Starmer reiterated his calls for the need to unite the party in an exclusive interview with the South Wales Argus ahead of a rally in Newport tonight.

“We’re running a really positive campaign,” the shadow Brexit Secretary said.

“This is our fourth time in Wales, and we’ve got a strong focus on unity.

“There is a long way to go, but we’re fighting for every vote.”

Sir Keir’s campaign is trying to reach as many people as possible before Labour Party members receive postal ballots and online voting forms on February 21.

“We’ve been attempting to phone all 580 members over the past 10 days,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s ever been done before.

“We need to unite as a party and provide a strong opposition.

“There’s no time to lose as there are elections in Wales next year.”


The next Welsh Parliament election is due to be held on Thursday 6 May, 2021.

Sir Keir also pledged his support for the Welsh steel industry and the local MP’s work with Welsh industry as a whole.

“I fully support what Welsh Labour are doing here with the steel industry and wider industry,” he said.

“I’ve been coming to Wales regularly for the last three years. One of the most important aspects of leadership is listening and working with communities.”

Wales has been reeling from the havoc wrought by Storms Ciara and Dennis over the past few weeks and Sir Keir paid a visit to a few of the communities worst hit but the flooding.

“We’d like to send out a strong message of support and sympathy to all affected by this,” he said.

“Communities have gone through a dreadful experience. It’s only when you’re sitting in someone’s living room that you appreciate that these items lost are more than just furniture.

“I’d like to pay tribute to the way communities have pulled together.

“Welsh Labour have been out quickly, which I believe is the right response. In contrast, the Prime Minister has gone entirely.”

It was not only the current government’s response to the Welsh floods which was not up to scratch according to Sir Keir.

He also had a few choice words to say about comments made by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

She stated that staff shortages brought on by the government’s new immigration policy could be filled by training the UK’s 8.5million ‘economically inactive’ citizens.

Sir Keir said: “I don’t think Priti Patel has the first idea of how the economy is working.

“I’ve been across the whole UK and talked to countless people about immigration.

“Maybe Priti Patel should do the same.

“It’s clear we rely on people from many different countries in both sectors – public and private.

“I strongly reject the idea that skill and pay packet go together. It would be a good idea for Priti Patel to talk with NHS staff before saying things such as that.”

The result of the leadership election will be announced on 4 April.