Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer plans to start his summer tour of Britain in Blackpool in a bid to entice voters back to the party.
Sir Keir endured a bruising set of local elections in May, losing control of a host of councils in Labour’s traditional heartlands, as well as being defeated by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in the Hartlepool Westminster by-election.
However, a narrow victory earlier this month in the Batley and Spen by-election has party insiders hoping that the tide is turning on the tenure of Jeremy Corbyn’s successor as he looks to recover support in the so-called “red wall” across the North of England, the Midlands and North Wales.
The former director of public prosecutions plans to spend his summer outside of Westminster speaking to voters and selling Labour’s plans for a post-pandemic recovery.
He is set to warn during his visit to the North West resort on Thursday that the coronavirus crisis risks “permanent scarring of an entire generation” unless proper support is put in place.
Party officials said the Opposition leader will be debating policy ideas such as Labour’s £15 billion Children’s Recovery Plan, which includes proposals for breakfast clubs and small group tutoring to help children catch up, mental health support in schools and an extension of free school meals.
Sir Keir will be looking to discuss Labour’s jobs promise, which is to ensure every young person away from work for six months is offered a quality education, training or employment opportunity, and its proposals to make, buy and sell more in Britain.
Speaking before his visit to Blackpool, the Labour leader said: “For too long, politics has felt too remote from ordinary people’s lives and opinions. That’s why I’ve committed to spending a lot more time outside Westminster this summer, taking Labour’s offer on the road and direct to voters.
“I’ve got plans to create opportunities for everyone, and I’m looking forward to debating them with local people in Blackpool.
“I’ll be having robust conversations with people, particularly those who didn’t vote Labour at the last election.
“Conservative failure over the past decade has restricted opportunities for too many people, and the pandemic has rapidly worsened that, particularly for young people.
“Unless we act now, and act fast, we risk the permanent scarring of an entire generation.
“So in Blackpool I’ll be putting forward Labour’s proposals to create real opportunities across Britain – opportunities that everyone deserves and that help our country thrive.
“Whoever you are and wherever you live, you deserve every chance to get on in life.”
Labour said that across the next two days, Sir Keir will have conversations with sixth-form students, apprentices, hospitality workers and young people from local community groups.