KEIR Starmer’s conference speech has been welcomed by one of the UK’s most influential right-wing think tanks for setting out a “serious, positive” vision for the country.

The Adam Smith Institute, a neoliberal think tank said to have inspired controversial privatisations during the Thatcher and Major governments and influenced Liz Truss's disatrous "mini-budget", said the Labour leader was right that “politics should tread lightly on people’s lives”.

And it said it looked forward to seeing his ambitions for Britain fleshed out to “fix our country and boost living standards”.

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Starmer used his keynote conference speech to delegates in Liverpool – during which he was confronted by a glitter-throwing protester - to make a direct pitch to Tory voters to join Labour.

He invited Conservative supporters who looked on “in horror at the descent of your party into the murky waters of populism and conspiracy” to join his party.

He also promised to “bulldoze” his way through restrictions to build a new Britain, with modern homes and businesses and an NHS “back on its feet”.

In the wake of Rishi Sunak’s speech to the Conservative conference, the Institute had criticised the UK government for being focused on “catchy diktats rather than on the long-term decisions this country really needs”.

Economist Richard Murphy, professor of accounting practice at Sheffield University, wrote on X/Twitter: “The deeply right-wing Adam Smith Institute loves Keir Starmer and cannot abide Rishi Sunak.

“Is there any more evidence that you need on how far Labour has moved to the right?”

In a statement following Starmer’s speech, the Institute’s director of research Maxwell Marlow said: “Keir Starmer put forward a serious, innovation-focused, positive vision for the country. He is right that politics should tread lightly on people’s lives, and we hope that, should he succeed in bringing Labour to power, he holds true to this statement.”

Marlow said it was also “refreshing” to hear Starmer talk about reforms to public services, so that “they work for the people who use them”, including using technology and artificial intelligence to improve the NHS – but criticised a pledge to remove the VAT exemption on private schools.

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“We look forward to seeing Keir Starmer’s ambitions for Britain fleshed out with more concrete policy ideas to fix our country and boost living standards for ordinary Brits,” he added.

The Adam Smith Institute had initially welcomed the plans laid out by Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng – which led to economic chaos – before saying mistakes were made with the strategy, including the scale of proposed tax cuts.

Meanwhile the SNP criticised Starmer for remaining wedded to “Tory austerity cuts, Brexit and the same damaging Westminster policies that got the UK into this mess”.

SNP social justice spokesperson David Linden said: "Families are suffering from the soaring cost of living in the UK and need help right now - but Sir Keir failed to outline a single policy to help households this winter, and his admission the Labour Party will continue to impose a hard Tory Brexit will choke off economic growth permanently.”