KEIR Starmer has set out five “national missions” for a Labour government, contrasting them with Rishi Sunak’s “people’s priorities”.

The Labour leader’s plans are long-term goals, setting out how he would reshape the country if he enters No 10.

However, Starmer faced questions over his previous 10 pledges which were set out during his leadership election

The Labour chief has appeared to go back on a number of those promises, which had included public ownership of a number of public services.

On a Thursday morning media round, he was urged to explain why voters should trust these new five missions after the 10 pledges row.

The National:

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On BBC Breakfast, Starmer avoided the question. 

“Well what these five missions are, are the reflection of what we most need for our country going forward," he said.

“What do we need to do to unlock the potential of our country, to get away from what I call sticking-plaster politics.

“For too long we’ve sort of let a crisis evolve and we put a sticking plaster on it, we just about get through and then we go around the same circle again.”

But pressed further on BBC's Radio 4, he blamed the pandemic and the war in Ukraine for rowing back on his previous promises.

“They haven’t all been abandoned by any stretch of the imagination," he insisted. "But what I’ve obviously had to do is adapt some of them to the circumstances we find ourselves in.

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"Since I ran for leader we’ve had Covid, since I ran for leader we’ve had the conflict in Ukraine, since I ran for leader we’ve had a government that’s done huge damage to our economy.

"What these missions are is bringing together the fundamental problems we face as a country, hard thinking about how we have the long-term solutions for those problems and not many people disagree with these missions. What they want to know is ‘how are you going to achieve it’.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon successfully turned Scots against Labour, says Starmer

Starmer's “missions”, which will form the backbone of Labour’s election manifesto, are:

  • A plan for the economy with an aim of securing the highest sustained growth in the G7 group of developed nations.
  • Build an NHS fit for the future.
  • Make Britain’s streets safe.
  • Break down the barriers to opportunity at every stage.
  • Make Britain a clean energy superpower.

Later in a speech in Manchester, in echoes of New Labour, he promised to be “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” and also said that in carrying out reforms “I’m not concerned about whether investment or expertise comes from the public or private sector – I just want to get the job done”.

Comparing his approach to a football coach with a single-minded pursuit of success, he promised “a clarity that will ruffle feathers across Whitehall and beyond, but one that is necessary”.

Setting out why the change is required, he said: “Pick any of the current problems: energy security, productivity, immigration. We could be here all day but it wouldn’t matter – the pattern is always the same.

“Distracted by the short-term obsessions that fixate Westminster, held back by a cynicism, which uses low trust in politics as an excuse to narrow our ambitions, blinkered to the potential of an active government setting the direction, we lurch from crisis to crisis, always reacting, always behind the curve.

“A sticking plaster, never a cure.”

Commenting, SNP deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black MP said: "Keir Starmer is so desperate to be a Tory that he has come up with his own five action points, just like Rishi Sunak.

"The pro-Brexit Labour Party will offer no hope to the people of Scotland as they will keep us out of the European Union, no matter the economic consequences.

"Our supermarket shelves have been empty this week because of Brexit and Starmer's speech was empty on how to fix the disastrous consequences that have caused that.

"The people of Scotland will be looking on in despair at Keir Starmer's speech, the only way we can escape Westminster control and flourish is by becoming an independent country."

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's five aims are:

  • Halving inflation this year to ease the cost of living and give people financial security.
  • Growing the economy, creating better-paid jobs and opportunity across the country.
  • Making sure national debt is falling.
  • Getting NHS waiting lists down and ensuring people get the care they need more quickly.
  • Stopping the small boats crossing the English Channel, with new laws to make sure that if people come to the country illegally they are detained and deported.

The National: Rishi Sunak

There is a long history of political leaders producing short lists of policy promises.

Labour’s successful 1997 election campaign included the production of a “pledge card”, while Ed Milband’s 2015 campaign involved a less pocket-friendly format, with his promises carved onto a stone slab.