And in a further shift of party positioning, he said the shortage of skilled workers must be remedied by training Britons, and not by importing cheaper labour.
Sir Keir said: “We can’t rely on bringing in talent from abroad.”
However, he also revealed he supports a points-based immigration system so qualified people can come to the UK when there is a specific shortage of skilled workers, such as the dearth of HGV drivers this year.
Sir Keir declared: “We have turned the party inside out. It is a changed party.”
Speaking during a visit to Grimsby, which elected a Conservative MP at the last election for the first time since the Second World War, he said: “The Labour party is absolutely focused on working people, wherever they are in the country – but particularly those who felt they couldn’t vote for us last time.”
Labour lost 60 MPs in 2019, with iconic seats such as Bolsover and Workington taken by Boris Johnson’s Tories.
The economic turmoil that brought down Liz Truss’s administration has given the Labour team the opportunity to present their party as a champion of financial stability.
Sir Keir takes up this line of attack, saying: “We are the party of sound finances. There’s only one party that has crashed the economy – the Tory party.
“You saw what happened in that kamikaze mini-Budget. The markets lost faith in the UK. That is a terrible position for the Tories to put our economy in. So their days of claiming to be the party of fiscal credibility are now well and truly over.”