Starmer’s speech to union conference thwarted by connection issues

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s address to a union conference has been delayed due to internet issues.

Sir Keir was due to speak virtually at the GMB conference on Monday, but instead, viewers could only see Sir Keir’s name on the screen and a grey stock image silhouette.

After three attempts to connect with the leader, the conference moved on.

GMB national president Barbara Plant said: “There just might be issues with wifi at Parliament, that’s the problem.”

And she suggested Sir Keir instead sent in a video which could be played later.

Sir Keir was expected to congratulate new GMB general secretary Gary Smith, who was elected last week.

Mr Smith’s win with just over half the vote in a ballot of members was seen as a boost for Sir Keir, as Mr Smith is seen as friendly towards the Labour leader.

GMB is the UK’s third-largest union, with more than 600,000 members, and is one of the three largest affiliates to the Labour Party.