Sir Keir Starmer called the protester who threw glitter over him during a speech an “idiot” but admitted the security breach “could have been a lot worse”.
The Labour leader said a lot of people have asked him what was going through his mind when the man stormed the stage ahead of his keynote address to the party conference in Liverpool.
He said he was “absolutely not going to be put off” from making his case to the nation about why he should be the next prime minister.
He told Sky News: “We have worked for four years to get the Labour Party to a position where I could speak not just to the room – there were 2,000 or so people in the room – but to the country.
“I was not going to let that idiot deflect me. And that’s why I took my jacket off, rolled up my sleeves, notwithstanding the bits of glitter still in my hair and I think on my shoulder, and delivered the speech about national renewal versus continuing decline.”
He added: “I was absolutely not going to be put off delivering a very important speech for me and for our party, particularly at this time where we’re going into an election year.”
Sir Keir said his speech – in which he pledged to “rebuild Britain” – was about “reaching into the soul of the British people”.
He said it was not heavy on policy detail because he was aiming to “create an emotional connection with the future and give people a sense that things can renew, wounds can heal, what is broken can be repaired”.
He said people have told him they have been reassured by his message around fiscal discipline and political stability, but they asked if he could “build the hope on top of that, can you reach into, I suppose, the soul of the British people and understand their hopes and aspirations”.
He insisted that “a lot of policy detail” has been set out at this conference around economic growth, the NHS, clean energy, education, and plans to “take back control of our streets” with more police officers.