LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer came to East Lancashire today and admitted his party had ‘a mountain to climb’ to win back its voters.

He was on the local election campaign trail in Rawtenstall promising to ‘earn every vote’ in next Thursday’s council polls.

Sir Keir was on the town’s Bank Street with his deputy Angela Rayner, Rossendale council leader Cllr Alyson Barnes, and Lancashire Labour boss Azhar Ali.

They made their way down the high street from Mulderrigs Solicitors via Sunday Best to Mr Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar where they sampled the products.

Sir Keir said that after the General Election disaster of December 2019 when Burnley and Hyndburn elected new Tory MPs he had a major job to do.

He said: “I’m very very well aware every vote has to be earned and that is what we are doing - earning every vote.

“We have got a mountain to climb. We lost very badly in December 2019. The things that came up most often were the leadership and the over-promising in the manifesto. Amongst my jobs is to close the gap between the Labour Party and those that we want to vote for us.

“People should vote for us because the Labour Party under my leadership has they priorities of the voters here in Lancashire and Rossendale and we have established the need to rebuild trust and we have a plan to get us out of the pandemic for the future.

“That plan is based on the jobs we need for the future, the investment we need to put into our NHS and on bringing down crime and anti-social behaviour.

“It’s very important that my priorities and the priorities of the Labour Party are the same as the priorities of voters in Lancashire, particularly voters who have perhaps voted Labour in the past and are not voting Labour now.

“It’s very important to come to places like East Lancashire. I certainly intend to be back very often

“Rawtenstall is fantastic. I don’t think I have spotted a single boarded up shop and I have been in a lot of high streets in the last two or three months and I have seen too many boarded up shops.”

Mr Fitzpatrick’s owner Ashley Morley-Doidge said she was ‘delighted’ to have Sir Keir at Britain’s last temperance bar but declined to say how she would vote on Thursday

Sir Keir said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson could clear up the row over the cost of renovations to his Downing Street flat ‘in 30 seconds’ with a straight answer.