Labour leader promises future visit to Burnley and Pendle is on the agenda when lockdown lifted
The fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the future of education, the Black Lives Matter campaign and Brexit were just some of the topics touched on when the people of Burnley and Pendle got the opportunity to question the new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmar.
Sir Keir hosted a series of virtual ‘Call Keir’ meetings in East Lancashire where he took questions directly from the public in the hour long virtual meeting which is one of a series being held across the UK.
The new Labour leader won the leadership election with more than 56% of the vote, bringing an end to Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure of almost five years at the top of the party, in April.
His appointment came at a time when the party was at an all time low after losing four elections in a row with Burnley voting in its first Tory MP in 100 years in December.
Opening the meeting on Zoom, Sir Keir said he had launched the sessions to gauge the views, thoughts and feelings of people across the UK, saying: "It's very important to me to listen to the views of people and receive your messages however blank and blunt they may be."
Sir Keir had originally intended to visit Burnley as soon as it was possible to do so, adding: "I know we have a mountain to climb but it's up to me to do the hard work and if we have lost people who previously voted Labour then we have a real problem that needs tackling.
"I know that people in towns like Burnley feel a sense of pride in their communities and I plan to re-engage with our communities and voters to establish a coalition across our towns, cities and regions with all creeds and communities to speak for the whole of the country."
During the virtual meeting on zoom on Thursday afternoon one caller from Burnley suggested that the Labour Party needed to return to 'grassroots' to win back the support and trust of voters.
The caller said: "It's time for a return to core values and honesty.
" We have seen so many lies and ways of wiggling out of things that I believe the solution is for the Labour Party to be transparent and above board.
"I did not object to Jeremy Corbyn at all, he was an honest man, and to me that is the key."
In relation to Covid 19 Sir Keir has called for an emergency Back to Work Budget to protect North West jobs stating that figures released last week show that unless the government acts the UK is likely to face mass unemployment across the North West.
The former director of public prosecutions said the government need to be held to account over the number of Covid related deaths in care homes in the UK and the lack of PPE.
Sir Keir also said the way the care sector was being run was 'fractured' and he wants to see drastic changes.
Running alongside the Call Keir sessions are a series of topical virtual meetings with key workers, small businesses and representatives of the BAME community.