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National anthem to be sung at Labour conference for first time in years

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Labour members will sing the national anthem at the party’s conference this weekend, for the first time in recent history.

Sir Keir Starmer, the party leader, will pay tribute to the late Queen at the opening of the four-day event in Liverpool on Sunday.

This will be followed by a rendition of God Save the King, marking a break from tradition.

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A Labour source said the party wanted to reflect recent events.

However, they dismissed reports that drinks receptions will be toned down at this year’s conference in a sign of respect to the late monarch.

The Liberal Democrats cancelled their conference because it fell within the period of national mourning.

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The Conservative party conference will take place in Birmingham from Sunday 2 October.

Sir Keir was one of several British politicians who attended the Queen’s state funeral on Monday.

He said the funeral “marked the passing of an era”.

He added: “The dignity, courage, spirit, selflessness and good humour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II showed throughout her reign will always be with us.

“We are lucky to call ourselves Elizabethans.”

Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Keir’s predecessor, had been critical of the monarchy and said during the 2019 election that it needed “improvement”. He also faced a backlash when he did not sing the national anthem at a commemoration service in 2015.

It was reported last week that Labour MPs were advised not to do any media during the national mourning period, except to pay their own tribute to the Queen.

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer hails the Queen’s ‘total commitment to service and duty’.

But in an article for the Guardian on Friday, senior Labour MP Clive Lewis said he watched people queuing for the lying in state with “bemusement followed by a touch of despair” and claimed the idea of monarchy as a symbol of duty is a “lie”.

He also criticised the arrest of protesters and the “state-sanctioned cancel culture of those who dissent”.

In contrast, Sir Keir urged anti-monarchy protesters to show respect and not “ruin” the chance for people to say goodbye to the Queen.

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He has not held back praise for the monarchy, saying he believed the events of the past 10 days helped bring people together.

Speaking ahead of the funeral at Westminster Abbey, he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “The public have been incredible – to see those queues, to see people everywhere across London.

“It showed the United Kingdom for what it really is, this fantastic country able to convene and bring people together.”

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