Sir Keir Starmer makes his pitch to succeed Jeremy Corbyn

PUBLISHED: 19:25 04 January 2020 | UPDATED: 19:43 04 January 2020

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer delivers his speech during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer delivers his speech during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Vocal Remain supporter Sir Keir Starmer will launch his Labour leadership bid in Brexit-backing Stevenage as he calls on the party to listen to voters to win back trust.

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The shadow Brexit secretary will visit the Hertfordshire town which voted 59% for Leave on Sunday as he makes his pitch to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

He became the fifth MP to enter the race to lead Labour following its worst general election defeat since 1935 when he made the announcement to the Sunday Mirror.

Sir Keir said: "Over the coming weeks, I'm looking forward to getting back on the campaign trail and talking to people from across the country about how Labour can rebuild and win.

"Britain desperately needs a Labour government. We need a Labour government that will offer people hope of a better future.

"However, that is only going to happen if Labour listens to people about what needs to change and how we can restore trust in our party as a force for good."

A campaign film highlights his justice fights and features words of support from Stephen Lawrence's mother Baroness Lawrence, who says he was "instrumental" in getting justice for her murdered son.

Sir Keir's work with the National Union of Mineworkers and on the McLibel case against McDonald's is also highlighted.

His Remain stance has been partly blamed by some Corbyn allies for the disastrous election performance.

MORE: Why Keir Starmer is the right person to lead Labour

Appealing to Corbyn's base, however, Sir Keir urged the party not to lurch to the right and said the case for a "bold and radical" Labour government is as important as ever.

The human rights lawyer, who was made Queen's Counsel in 2002, served as head of the CPS and accepted a knighthood in 2014, and has struggled to shake-off perceptions of privilege.

But he was named after Labour legend Keir Hardy and he has stressed his upbringing by his toolmaker father and nurse mother in London's Southwark when dismissing allegations he is too middle-class to speak to the party's historic heartlands.

His CV includes co-founding the renowned Doughty Street Chambers and advising the Policing Board to ensure the Police Service of Northern Ireland complied with human rights laws.

MORE: Keir Starmer is current favourite to win Labour leadership race

MORE: Sir Keir Starmer is voters' preferred choice to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader

He entered parliament as the MP for Holborn and St Pancras in 2015.

Critics have also raised concerns that Sir Keir is seen too much as a Londoner, but a recent survey made him the clear front-runner in the leadership race regardless.

He would beat the current leadership's favoured candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey 61% to 39% in a run-off, according to a YouGov survey of 1,059 Labour members conducted at the end of December.

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