Sir Keir Starmer has unveiled his first Christmas card as Labour leader.
The former director of public prosecutions has released a greetings card depicting him and his wife Victoria clapping the heroic efforts of NHS staff, carers and key workers during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pair were regularly pictured applauding outside their North London home for “clap for carers” during the first wave of infections in the spring.
Labour said the card was designed to highlight the further sacrifice front line workers are set to make by working over the Christmas season, despite being in line for a pay freeze.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced at last month’s Spending Review that public sector pay rises would be frozen next year, except for NHS doctors and nurses and the lowest paid.
The 2.1 million public sector workers who earn below the median wage of £24,000 will still be guaranteed a pay rise of at least £250 next year, Mr Sunak confirmed at the time.
Labour, which opposes the pay freeze, said the tightening of the purse strings will impact 2.5 million key workers, with 189,000 junior police officers and 50,400 fire service officers due to face a squeeze in 2021.
Sir Keir, who took over as leader from Jeremy Corbyn in April, said: “The clap for carers was a moment of huge national solidarity, and we continue to owe our carers and key workers a huge debt of gratitude. Their courage and dedication in the face of this virus has been truly incredible.
“This Christmas, carers and emergency workers, alongside our armed forces and other key workers, will step up yet again. They will sacrifice precious time with their families to keep us safe.
“We must repay them, not just with our gratitude, but by fighting for fair pay and conditions for all those who have given so much to help our country through this pandemic.”
Downing Street has yet to reveal the Prime Minister’s Christmas card but the Royal Mail has released images of Boris Johnson visiting postal staff in his London constituency to thank them for their efforts both during the festive period and the Covid-19 crisis.
Mr Johnson said: “It was fantastic to visit Ruislip delivery office to thank Royal Mail’s posties, who have been working hard to keep the country connected during the pandemic by delivering and collecting Covid-19 test kits and making sure vital medicines get to the most vulnerable.
“Though the festive period is always a busy time of the year for postal workers, this year it’s been particularly busy, so if you see your postie out and about make sure to give them a big thumbs up.”