THIS is an opinion piece from Sir Keir Starmer Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party.

When I was a child, my parents brought me to the Lake District every year. It was my mum’s favourite place in the world - the windswept hills and rugged beauty captured her heart.

She was seriously ill, but even when she could no longer walk, my dad adapted her wheelchair so he could push her over the fells, with four of us kids and four dogs in tow.

As a teenage boy, long walks and beautiful scenery weren’t exactly my idea of fun. But I understood exactly how my mum felt when I took my own kids to the Lake District last year.

We visited the miner’s cottages we used to rent in the Langdale Valley, and boated on Lake Windermere before eating fish and chips in the sun.

It was wonderful, but it was also profoundly nostalgic.  Introducing my children to the landscapes my mum loved so much, it almost felt like she was with us.

Generations of families like mine have visited, grown up in, and fallen in love with the Lake District. Generations more should be able to do the same.

So I was furious and sickened to hear that millions of litres of raw sewage have been illegally pumped into Lake Windermere.

This is happening across the country. The sewage flooding into our waters is a national scandal. It stops people from enjoying our beautiful coasts. It’s killing our wildlife. And it’s a public health hazard.

But there’s a deeper story here too – a story of failure under a Tory government that has turned a blind eye, crossed its arms, and shrugged its shoulders at every turn.

And to add insult to injury, whilst water bosses are pocketing millions in bonuses, your water bills are going up.

With a Labour government, water companies won’t get away with it anymore. We’ll make them clean up their act.

The polluter – not the public – will pay.

We’ll put failing water companies under special measures.

Strengthen regulation so law breaking bosses face criminal charges. And we’ll block their multi-million pound bonuses until they’ve cleaned up their filth.

We won’t let them mark their own homework anymore either – we’ll force all companies to monitor every water outlet, so they won’t be able to cover up illegal sewage dumping.

And finally, a Labour government would introduce severe and automatic fines that no water companies can ignore for illegal sewage discharges.

No more slaps on the wrist. No more profiteering out of pumping sewage into our waters. No more turning a blind eye.

This year, you can vote for a Labour government to clean up the mess and end the chaos for good.

We’ll deliver real change – with higher growth, cheaper bills, safer streets, an NHS back on its feet and better opportunities for your children.

Because I want my children to be able to return to these same places one day with their children. I want them to be able to be able to boat across Lake Windermere like we did, without worrying about getting sick or being surrounded by hazard signs.