The Labour Party’s next general election campaign will focus on “wealth creation”, Sir Keir Starmer has said – as he denied being “boring.”

Making a speech in Gateshead, the Labour leader outlined his party’s priorities as the Conservative Party’s leadership election gets underway, pledging to give the UK “the fresh start it needs”.

He told reporters that Britain is “stuck with a tanking economy”, with people “stuck at home, unable to get a passport for a fight, stuck on the phone trying to book a GP appointment”.

“We will reboot our economy, re-energise our communities, revitalise our public services, unite the country, clean up politics, and end the cost of living crisis,” Sir Keir said.

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He also promised to close the “VAT loophole for private schools” to invest in education, and to close tax loopholes used by private equity to fund mental health treatment spending if Labour were to get into power.

Sir Keir said the focus of Labour’s next general election campaign will be to make “Britain richer”.

In a question and answer session following his speech, the Labour leader was asked by Sky News’ political correspondent Liz Bates whether he is “too boring” to be prime minister.

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Sir Keir quipped back that “the only thing that’s boring is opposition”.

Elsewhere, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has officially joined the race for the Tory leadership, with Home Secretary Priti Patel potentially set to announce her candidacy.

A surprise entry has also been made by Foreign Office minister Rehman Chishti, meaning 11 Conservatives are now fighting to replace Mr Johnson as prime minister.

Sir Keir urged all the Conservative leadership candidates to “put their money where there mouth is” and call a general election.

He also spoke about the importance of being able to trust government ministers and politicians.

However, he refused to directly comment on whether Rishi Sunak should be banned from standing for Conservative Party leader after he received a fixed penalty notice over the partygate scandal.

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Last week, Sir Keir and his deputy Angela Rayner were cleared of breaking lockdown rules on a visit to Durham last year, following a police investigation.

Both had vowed to step down if they were found to have breached regulations during a trip to the city in April 2021, ahead of the Hartlepool by-election.

None of those present at the event, dubbed “beergate”, have been issued with a fine.

This is in stark contrast to the 126 fixed-penalty notices by the Metropolitan Police for rule breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall.

Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson, and then chancellor Mr Sunak were all fined for attending a birthday gathering for the prime minister in June 2020 when indoor mixing was banned.

Responding to the outcome of the Durham police probe, Sir Keir told a news conference: “People said to me I was taking a risk by saying I would step down if I was fined. But it was never about that.

“For me it was a matter of principle. It shouldn’t be controversial to say those who make the law can’t break the law. But we have to set the bar far higher than that.”