Labour leader Keir Starmer has been heckled by a small number of people during his eagerly awaited speech at the Labour Party conference in Brighton.
Starmer’s speech was met with some derision by a pocket of protesters in the audience who held up red cards and shouted “£15” – in reference to Labour’s refusal to back a scheme to increase the minimum wage to £15.
Although the heckling was fairly consistent throughout his speech, Starmer did manage to hit back at the hecklers, asking them: “Shouting slogans or changing lives?”
In another retort, he said: “At this time on a Wednesday it’s normally the Tories that are heckling me, it doesn’t bother me then, and it doesn’t bother me now.”
The Labour leader’s challenge to the critics was met with applause before he went on to discuss how his family life had taught him lessons about the value of work and care.
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After being interrupted again, he replied: “You can chant all day,” before being applauded by the audience.
The attempts to undermine Starmer’s speech were met with furious backlash on social media, especially as part of the speech involved the 59-year-old talking about his dying mother and the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
Some commentators felt that the heckling might actually help Starmer get his messages across to the wider public,
Others felt that heckling of politicians should be allowed but only in moderation and when it was appropriate.
It remains to be seen if the heckling will distract from Starmer’s lengthy speech where he outlined his vision for the Labour Party which included a focus on tackling crime, improving the economy and education, fighting climate change and fixing the problems caused by the Tories with Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.