(Bloomberg) -- Keir Starmer mocked Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to revive national service for young Britons, which the Labour leader described as emblematic of sudden policy shifts by the Conservative Party over the past 14 years.

“A sort of teenage Dad’s Army,” was Starmer’s description, a reference to a British sitcom from the 1970s about a bumbling group of volunteers in the Home Guard, a citizen military group during World War II.

Starmer was delivering his first keynote speech of the UK general election campaign after Sunak last week called a vote for July 4. In his first major electoral pitch, the prime minister announced a plan to compel 18-year-olds into military or community service days later. Labour immediately dismissed the idea, which has faced questions around enforcement and funding.

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Starmer’s speech on Monday focused largely on telling Britain’s undecided voters that they can trust him with the economy, border protection and national security, saying he’s changed his party permanently.

The Labour leader said his approach contrasted with what he said would be five more years of “Tory chaos.” He said the national service plan showed how Sunak is out of ideas.

“I do accept the proposition that we need strong defences.” Starmer said in response to questions on Monday. “But I think this plan is desperate, they’re rummaging around in a toy box to find any plan that they can throw on the table. I don’t think it will work.”

Starmer also promised new measures to improve border protection, something that’s become a huge political issue, by creating a new border security command that will involve counterterrorism measures to stop the criminal gangs involved in people trafficking.

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