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Labour leader Keir Starmer will use an event in Essex to tell voters the first steps he would take if his party wins the election, expected this year.

The steps include setting up a border security command to tackle the criminal gangs behind small boats crossings and recruiting 6,500 teachers.

Speaking ahead of the event, Sir Keir said the pledges were a “down payment on change”.

Tory chair Richard Holden said they did not “amount to a hill of beans”.

The Conservative added that while the Labour leader was on his “sixteenth relaunch”, his party were “sticking to the plan which is working to strengthen the economy – with inflation down from 11.1% to 3.2% and £900 back in hard-working people’s pockets – and a fair immigration system with boat crossings down”.

Last year, Sir Keir outlined five “missions” including growing the UK economy, making Britain a clean energy superpower, improving the NHS, reforming the justice system and raising education standards.

Now the Labour leader is attempting to assure voters he would take “urgent” action on these missions by presenting the party’s existing policies as the “first steps” he would take if elected:

Sticking to tough spending rules in order to deliver economic stability

Cutting NHS waiting lists by providing 40,000 more appointments each week – funded by tackling tax avoidance and non-dom loopholes

Launching a border security command to stop the gangs arranging small boat crossings

Setting up Great British Energy, a publicly owned clean power energy company

Providing more neighbourhood police officers to reduce antisocial behaviour and introduced new penalties for offenders

Recruiting 6,500 teachers, paid for through ending tax breaks for private schools.

The steps are expected to form a key part of Labour’s election campaign and will remind some voters of the pledge cards presented by Tony Blair when he was leading the Labour party ahead of the 1997 general election.

A Labour spokesman has insisted the steps are “not the sum total” of the party’s election offer and insisted the party also stood by its other policy commitments, such as housing and workers’ rights, not included in the six steps.

“I would remind you for example… the national minimum wage was not on the pledge card in 1997, but it was one of the most important achievements of the Labour government, and in a similar vein, our manifesto will be our full offering.”

John Prescott – Labour’s deputy leader from 1994 to 2007 – displaying the party’s pledge cards

The party will also be launching an advertising campaign – including ad vans and billboards – which will constitute their largest ad spend since the last general election in 2019.

Labour is expected to hold separate launches for voters in Scotland and Wales in the coming weeks.

The event is a further sign that political parties are in full pre-election mode.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak can choose when to hold an election, but it has to take place before by 28 January 2025.

Earlier this week, he delivered a wide-ranging speech which included strong criticism of his Labour opponent, attacking Sir Keir’s record on defence spending and arguing that he would make the UK less safe.