Keir Starmer on Wednesday vowed to revitalise the election prospects of Britain’s main opposition Labour party, seeking to unite warring factions and broaden its public appeal with his first in-person speech since taking charge last year. Starmer used the address to Labour’s rank-and-file to try to rebuild its fortunes, after the party suffered its worst defeat since the 1930s at the last general election under his socialist predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn. But he faces the unenviable task of unifying a party riven by internal factions and hard-left opposition to his leadership, even as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government battles a damaging fuel supply crisis. Starmer sought to introduce himself to voters as a credible alternative to Johnson’s Conservatives, insisting Labour can win back traditional working-class supporters in northern England who left the party in droves two years ago. “The voters that thought we were unpatriotic or irresponsible, or that we looked down on them, I say these simple but powerful words: we will never under my leadership go into an election with a manifesto that is not a serious plan for government,” he pledged. Labour’s 2019 programme was widely derided as an undeliverable left-wing wish-list, which alongside Corbyn’s lack of broader popularity, was blamed for contributing to its poor showing at the polls.