Labour leader Keir Starmer will deliver a televised speech tonight (23 September), as a “right of reply” following Boris Johnson’s statement last night.
After making a statement to MPs in the commons during the day, the Prime Minister addressed the nation at 8pm, to lay out the changes to coronavirus restrictions he announced earlier in the day.
He said, "Unless we take action the risk is that we will have to go for tougher measures later. If people don't follow the rules we have set out, then we must reserve the right to go further.”
But, as leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, the BBC must offer an equal platform to Labour leader Keir Starmer, so as to maintain political balance. This means he will have the opportunity tonight to similarly address the nation.
When will Starmer speak?
It has yet to be confirmed exactly when the Labour leader’s address will be aired, with only Politico’s Playbook reporting about the speech. However, the BBC One TV schedule does show a five minute long slot for a Labour Party Political Broadcast at 6:55pm tonight (23 Sep).
What will he say?
In his speech, Starmer will likely respond directly to the specific points raised in Boris Johnson’s speech last night, relating to new restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus, and about the government’s overall strategy in dealing with the pandemic.
While Labour have claimed to be offering “constructive opposition” throughout the pandemic - with Keir Starmer supporting the government on the broad strokes of policy - it is thought that Starmer will seek to highlight the difference in competency between his party and the government, rather than laying out a vastly different approach.
Starmer’s televised address will follow his first conference speech as Labour leader, which he delivered remotely from Doncaster yesterday (22 Sep). In the keynote speech of Labour’s online conference event, Connected, the former Director of Public Prosecutions criticised Boris Johnson’s leadership and handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying “he’s just not serious. He’s just not up to the job”. He also urged voters to “take another look at Labour.”
Starmer said, “My vision for Britain is simple: I want this to be the best country to grow up in and the best country to grow old in. A country in which we put family first.
“A country that embodies the values I hold dear. Decency, fairness, opportunity, compassion and security. Security for our nation, our families and all of our communities.”
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, The Yorkshire Evening Post