Starmer speaks of hope for relations with the US under Joe Biden


Sir Keir Starmer is to set out his “optimistic” vision for a wide-ranging new relationship with the United States under Joe Biden.

As the President-elect prepares for his inauguration on Wednesday, the Labour leader will declare himself to be “pro-American but anti-Trump”.

In a keynote address to the Fabian Society conference on Saturday, he will accuse Boris Johnson of getting too close to the outgoing president.

He will say the Prime Minister has spent the last few years “cosying up to people who don’t have Britain’s interests at heart and courting the idea that he is Britain’s Trump”.

In contrast, he will say that under a Labour government, Britain will seek to act as a “moral force for good in the world” after “a decade of global retreat” under the Conservatives.

He will draw on the examples of the work done under former Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to urge Mr Johnson to use this year’s hosting of the G7 summit to bring countries together to rebuild after the pandemic.

“We need to seize this chance to lead again, just as Blair and Brown did over global poverty and the financial crisis,” he will say, according to advance extracts of his speech.

 Boris Johnson meets US President Donald Trump
Boris Johnson meets US President Donald Trump

Sir Keir will say he is “incredibly optimistic” about prospects for building a new relationship with the Biden administration, arguing that the UK is at is strongest when it is “the bridge between the US and the rest of Europe”.

“This isn’t a normal transition of power from one president to another. The pictures on our TVs in the last few weeks make that clear. The US is more divided than at any time I can remember,” he will say.

“Amid all that, this is a moment of huge optimism, of hope winning out over hate. And it can also be a turning point. Not just in America but also for Britain’s relationship with the US and for global politics.”

At the same time the Labour leader will say he would look to build a “close economic relationship” with the EU rooted in shared values with high standards and protections for businesses, working people and the environment.

“Of course, Boris Johnson will never do that, he wants something completely different from Brexit. And we’re already seeing that workers’ rights are at risk, the 48-hour week and the working time directive could be ripped up,” he will say