LABOUR leadership frontrunner Keir Starmer said the party must unite and “be radical” to win back voters.

The shadow Brexit secretary, speaking on a visit to Hove on Tuesday, said people had “lost trust in the Labour Party as a force for good”.

Commenting on party splits in the city, including an attempt by members to deselect Hove MP Peter Kyle, Mr Starmer said the opposing views in the party are reconcilable.

“We have to unite as a party. We have got to start fighting the Conservatives more,” he said.

“I’m deeply conscious of the fact that unity has to start with the leader of the Labour Party. I would model that.”

But the leadership hopeful said he would not change the rules regarding deselecting sitting Labour MPs like Mr Kyle.

“In terms of candidates in places where we don’t have MPs, there should be an open selection,” Mr Starmer said.

“That should be accountable, we shouldn’t have candidates imposed by the National Executive Committee.

“As for sitting MPs, we have just gone through a review of the situation. We need to see whether the changes work.”

Mr Starmer also defended Labour-run Brighton and Hove City Council when asked whether it could deal with homelessness and poverty in the city.

“The first thing to say is that the council has had a massive cut to its budget, I think at least 50 per cent,” he said.

“That’s a central Government responsibility and it’s very important we make that point.

“Having introduced brutal cuts over the years central Government has tried to outsource them to councils and the council is doing its level best in very difficult circumstances.

“It’s central Government’s responsibility.”

He told The Argus Labour needed to regain voters’ trust that “Labour is right”.

But he said Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as party leader was not a total failure.

“Jeremy led us through some very difficult times for the Labour Party,” Mr Starmer said.

“He importantly transformed us into an anti-austerity movement and a movement courageous enough to invest in our public services.

“I think it’s important that we don’t go back on that.

“We do need to be radical and conscious only fundamental change will help us get to grips with this. We need to be credible.

“We need people to see Labour is right, we are the only party that can change Britain. That’s a big job.”

A YouGov poll from last month showed Mr Starmer as the favourite to become Labour leader.