Keir Starmer – 2020 Speech on VE Day

Below is the text of the statement made by Keir Starmer, the Leader of the Opposition, on 8 May 2020.

Today we mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, and we remember the millions of people from across the United Kingdom, and from across the world who came together in World War II to fight for our shared values; values of freedom, of democracy, of peace and of tolerance.

We also pay tribute to those that rebuilt and renewed our country after the war. Based on their values they built a better future. Theirs is an incredible legacy – the National Health Service, the welfare state, the recognition of human rights.

In normal times we would be paying tribute to their achievements in street parties, in gatherings and events at the Cenotaph. This year we can’t do that. This year we can’t be together.

But tonight we’ll hear from the Queen at the exact same time, as in 1945, her father King George spoke to the nation from a bomb-scarred Buckingham Palace.

He talked about what kept our country going during that crisis; the recognition that our cause wasn’t the cause of one nation alone and that we succeeded because we stood together.

Let’s remember that message in these difficult times and take inspiration from the spirit of people like Captain Tom Moore, who served in Asia and then, 75 years later, raised £27 million for NHS charities. We owe a huge debt to Tom’s generation and we must do everything we can to show them the same commitment that they showed our country in its darkest hour.

Today we commemorate those who stood together for a better future. We remember their service, and also their sacrifice.