But the Labour leader faces criticism from within his own party over his refusal to back strikers – as a poll reveals he is less popular than new Prime Minister Liz Truss.
And in another headache for Sir Keir, Labour voters want him to join forces with the SNP in a hung Parliament, raising fears of a “coalition of chaos” that could lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom.
Arriving in Liverpool with wife Victoria yesterday, he aimed to get back on the front foot as delegates gathered for what is seen as a make-or-break annual conference.
Since Sir Keir took the top’ job in April 2020, politics has been dominated by the Covid crisis, limiting his opportunities to talk about other issues.
This conference is seen as Labour’s opportunity to set out a wide-ranging policy agenda and his speech on Tuesday will promise a “fairer, greener” Britain.
Labour’s top team will kick off the rally today with an avalanche of eye-catching proposals which it hopes will be big vote-winners.
They include: A massive 3Rs drive in primary schools to help children catch up on lessons they missed during lockdown; Plans to help ailing high streets with a £1.65billion cut in business rates; An extra 13,000 beat bobbies and community support officers; Letting firms who pay taxes on time and treat staff well leap to the front of the queue for government contracts worth £40billion a year; Tougher regulation of care homes to beef up standards and stop overcharging; Specialist courts for rape trials so alleged victims are treated with dignity.
On Wednesday, Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson will unveil what she calls “the most ambitious school improvement programme in a generation” after thousands of children whose progress was disrupted by lockdowns began secondary school lacking maths and English skills.
She told the Sunday Express last night: “The pandemic risks doing permanent damage to children’s education because of the Conservatives’ failure to support properly.” pupils’ recovery.”
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves will launch an audacious bid to position Labour as the party of business in her speech tomorrow, with a pledge to cut taxes on employers by £1.65 billion.
But Sir Keir faces criticism from left-wingers at the conference, including former leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is urging conference delegates to pass a motion demanding the party backs strikes.
In an email to members of pressure group Momentum, Mr Corbyn said: “Right now, Momentum are campaigning to turn the tide at the party conference, with trade unions and members uniting to pass a motion demanding Labour’s MPs and leadership stand with striking workers. I’m backing the campaign, will you too?”
There was also a challenge from Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who urged Labour to “step up” support for trade unions after Sir Keir banned frontbenchers from joining picket lines.
Mr Burnham told the Sunday Express : “You can’t be neutral when the key workers that we clapped are now fighting for their livelihoods.”
At the next general election Sir Keir is desperate to avoid a repeat of the 2015 vote, when Tories accused then-Labour leader Ed Miliband of planning a “coalition of chaos” with the independence-driven SNP.
A Redfield and Wilton Strategies poll for the Sunday Express shows 67 percent of Labour voters want to see a coalition involving the SNP and the Liberal Democrats, if Labour becomes the largest party but fails to win an overall majority.
But Sir Keir has repeatedly insisted he’ll make no agreements with smaller parties.
Also in the survey, 41 percent said the Labour leader “looks like someone who will one day be Prime Minister” while 31 percent disagree.
But asked which leader would make the best Prime Minister, 40 percent named Liz Truss with 35 percent choosing Sir Keir.