Below is a summary of a sequence of published articles from January 2015 to July 2017 (in date order), about, or written by, Keir Starmer.
13th February 2015 : Guardian article : ‘Tax authorities should prosecute evaders, says Keir Starmer.’
Starmer is running as the Labour candidate for Holborn and St Pancras in the upcoming election. As the Former DPP, the Guardian asks for his response to a story about tax evasion at HSBC. Starmer makes it clear, in his view, the HMRC should make criminal prosecution the default position for tax evasion… “Tax evasion involving dishonest fraud is not a sort of fraud, it is fraud. It is criminal and it should be treated as all other fraud is treated.”
20th April 2015 : Guardian article : Handshakes and curry: canvassing with Keir Starmer
Starmer, is standing as the Labour candidate for Holborn and St Pancras, a safe Labour seat. Starmer talks about a “growing optimism” in the party and his feeling that the Tories resorting to personal attacks on Ed Miliband have turned voters off. He tells the Guardian that he believes Miliband has been giving a strong performance in the short campaign but when he’s asked if he supported Miliband’s decision to distance himself from the Blairite legacy by attacking energy companies and non-doms and proposing a 50% tax rate and a mansion tax on houses worth more than £2m, Starmer dodges the question… “People want to live in secure housing they can afford – that’s not about right and left, it’s basic fairness and dignity.” Then he launches into an attack on the Tories for cuts to, and the dismantling of, public services. Asked if he had any personal political ambition he’s quick to respond with a pitch… “If I see a problem, I want to solve it – is that ambition?… I don’t imagine there is any MP who asked to do a central role would say they didn’t want to do it, but I have no plans other than to do the best I can..”
13th May 2015 : Guardian article : Arguments against the Human Rights Act are coming. They will be false
Days after being elected, Starmer writes an article for the Guardian arguing against Tory plans to repeal the Human Rights Act (HRA). He explains that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), established after the Second World War, was subsequently given legal effect in every European country and was enacted in the UK when Labour brought in the Human Rights Act in 1998. He talks about how the HRA offers protection for the most vulnerable.. “including child victims of trafficking, women subject to domestic and sexual violence, those with disabilities and victims of crime” and how repealing the HRA, along with new restrictions on judicial review, “will silence the vulnerable and leave great swaths of executive action unchecked and unaccountable.” He explains that British courts are not bound by the European court of human rights as they are only obliged to “take into account.” He concludes by describing what he sees as a “fracture in our own politics evidenced by last week’s elections.” A fracture, some would argue, he would later learn to exploit.
15th May 2015 : Guardian article : Labour activists urge Keir Starmer to stand for party leadership
Barely a week after he’s elected as an MP, Labour activists urge the former director of public prosecutions to stand for party leadership. They set up a Facebook page and plan a Twitter storm to try and encourage him to stand. The Guardian also picks up on support from more prominent figures, such as former City minister Lord Myners, who funded Gordon and Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, who sees him as the right person to defend the Human Rights Act, after the government expressed plans to scrap it.
28th May 2015: Guardian article : ‘Keir Starmer defends Human Rights Act in maiden Commons speech’
Keir Starmer uses his maiden speech to the house of commons to defend the Human rights act… “The “put upon and the bullied” in society will suffer if the Tories press ahead with their manifesto pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act… The Human Rights Act has heralded a new approach for the protection of the most vulnerable in our society, including those in care homes, child victims of abuse and of trafficking, women subjected to domestic and sexual violence, those with disabilities and victims of crime… It will be those in low pay, those in poor housing, those with physical and mental health needs, the vulnerable, the put upon and the bullied in St Pancras and Somers Town, Regent’s Park, in Gospel Oak, in Haverstock and across my constituency who will be the losers if we abandon the guarantee of equal rights for all.”
13th July 2015 : Guardian article : ‘Keir Starmer to call for journalists to have a public interest defence’
Barely 3 months into his new job as Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, is now reportedly advocating that journalists accused of phone hacking or bribing public officials should have a public interest defence in law. Coincidentally, this announcements precedes a speech that Starmer is expected to make this same evening at the London Press Club, during a debate : ‘800 years after the Magna Carta, do we have a free press?’ The sell-out event is expected to host the likes of Trevor Kavanagh, the Sun’s associate editor; Peter Kellner, president of the polling organisation, YouGov; and Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of Index on Censorship.
7th August 2015 : Guardian article : ‘In sexual assault cases, the idea of the ‘perfect victim’ is pernicious.’
Starmer writes an article for the Guardian criticising a recent decision to reduce the level of compensation given to victims of sexual abuse of they are deemed to be an ‘imperfect victim’ because they may have themselves committed offences at times, such as theft or public order offences, for example. He makes a fair point but chooses to exclusively reference ‘Rochdale and Rotherham’ grooming gangs, as examples were victims opted not to come forward immediately because they were involved in low level criminal activity themselves. This policy change effects all victims of sexual abuse, so why exclusively reference Asian grooming gangs, unless you’re in the business of trying to create a narrative?
29th August 2015 : HuffPost article : ‘Starmer Urges Assisted Dying Law Change’
As parliament gets ready to debate a possible law change on assisted dying, the Huff Post does an article on Starmer’s campaign to legalise assisted dying so people don’t have to ‘traipse off to Switzerland.’ Starmer asks politicians to protect compassionate loved ones from prosecution by legalising assisted dying
29th September 2015 : BBC article : Jeremy Corbyn ‘not the Messiah,’ says Keir Starmer.
Starmer has been an MP for less than 5 months and supported Andy Burnham during the 2015 leadership election, now proclaims himself an expert on Jeremy Corbyn, at the 2015 Labour conference. He implies that Corbyn’s ‘qualities’ ware not up to the job and that members were mistaken when they voted for him. He does however acknowledge that Jeremy had tapped into “a rich seam of disaffection, disengagement with politics” but accuses Corbyn of not having the “radical, ambitious project” that Labour requires to win elections. Bear in mind Corbyn was elected leader just 2 weeks earlier and this was his first conference as Labour leader. Starmer goes on, warning members that the party needs to think past old issues like “austerity” and, instead, focus on issues that will matter come the next election, like boosting investment and skills. Anyone would think it was Starmer who’d won the leadership election and was laying out ‘his’ vision for the next 5yrs. Also worth pointing out that. in 2023, as the cost of living crisis has most of the nation on its knees, austerity has never bitten so hard.
2nd January 2016 : Observer article : Criminals and terrorists will rejoice if we leave the EU
Starmer writes an article for the Observer in which he claims that leaving the EU will damage cross-border collaboration and make the UK more vulnerable to criminals and terrorists. The article outlines the benefits of our trading relationship and the civil judicial co-operation measures, as examples, but focuses on ‘criminal gangs’ who operate across Europe, where some gang members could go underground if we don’t have co-ordinated strategy to arrest them all simultaneously. Starmer tells us that the EU provides additional security in the fight against cross-border crime, terrorism, people trafficking and sexual exploitation.
9th April 2016 : Guardian article : ‘Labour’s Keir Starmer: If we don’t capture the ambitions of a generation, it doesn’t matter who is leading the party’
Stephen Moss interviews Starmer, as the shadow home office minister, advising on counterterrorism powers and immigration. Moss describes Starmer as ‘driven, clever, articulate and photogenic’ and reports that “many see him as a future leader.” Starmer tells Moss he entered into politics because he believes that how the country rebuilds itself after the 2008 crash is going to define us for a generation (wonder why he left it till 2015 then). He expresses concern that young people no longer have the opportunities for social mobility of previous generations. On how Labour might improve its prospects of winning an election he remarks “There’s a huge amount of work to be done, and I certainly don’t think you can build the project for tomorrow with yesterday’s answers.” Moss points out that Starmer was ranked as “core group plus” in the infamous Corbyn loyalty list, but, in his view, Starmer should really have been in the “neutral but not hostile” list. He explains that while Starmer accepts that Corbyn has a big mandate, but feels he’s reserving his judgment until he sees how Corbyn performs leading up to the next election. Moss thinks Starmer might be suggesting that Corbyn could be replaced before the next election. That said, both Moss and Starmer agree the recent revelation of the Panama Papers, the fiasco about cuts to disability payments and the government’s feeble response to the collapse of the steel industry, have all played into the Corbyn narrative of two-nation Tories. When asked whether he has any leadership ambition, Starmer doesn’t rule it out but swiftly moves onto the topic of national security and reminds us that his track record shows he is tough on terrorism (a sneaky pitch if I ever saw one). They then, conveniently, move onto the topic of immigration, where Starmer tells us that, while he agrees that immigration has brought a richness to our communities, he also recognises that there are some parts of the country, like “Oldham, where it’s very hard to find a skilled job, and then the Home Office subcontracts asylum-seeking contracts to Serco, who decide to put everybody in one small bit of Oldham because it’s very cheap to do so, you get a different readout.” He reveals that he’s in the middle of a tour, visiting 20 towns all over the UK and aims to produce a report that will be used to establish a new party policy on immigration. Even Moss admits that this “grand tour might also serve another purpose. Wherever he goes he is being shown around by a local Labour MP and addressing party members. It is a good way of making contacts and building a party base if he did want to mount a challenge for the leadership”
28th September 2016 : Politics Home article : ‘The future of Labour’s immigration policy.’
Speaking at a fringe event, jointly hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration and Ernst & Young (a major accountancy firm), Starmer sets out his vision on how the Labour party should shape its immigration policy post-Brexit. Starmer claims, after his tour of 20 towns around the UK, that he was able to identify two clear camps – “pro-immigration businesses and ‘disenchanted’ anti-immigration members of the public.” He doesn’t give any indication as to what proportion of the electorate fall into either of these two camps. He then describes the anti-immigration members of the public as people who feel that their ways of life is under threat but who are too scared to express their concerns for fear of being labelled racist. He urges people to listen to them, even if they don’t agree with their views because “dialogue prevents voters from feeling isolated.” In other words, even if they ‘are’ racist we need to make them feel like they are being heard because then they’ll still vote for us. He doesn’t bother to expand on what he’s going to promise them in order to win their vote or whether or not he intends to keep that promise. Another speaker at the event, Bobby Duffy from Ipsos Mori, explains that “the population is 25% isolationist, 25% open to immigration, and then there is the sceptical middle.” Incidentally, as a rough indicator of what proportion of the population is isolationist, we could take a look at Ukip’s electoral successes. Between 1997 and 2019 there were 7 general elections. Ukips greatest success came in 2015 when they took 3,881,099 votes. As the total turnout for that year was 29,775,065, we can work out that Ukip took approx. 13% of the total vote. It’s also fair to say that some isolationists may have opted to vote for the pro-Brexit Conservatives, which would suggest that 25% is probably close to the mark, although immigration control isn’t the only reason why people voted for pro-Brexit parties.
9th October 2016 : Guardian article : ‘Keir Starmer calls for immigration to be reduced.’
Starmer says immigration is too high and calls for it to be reduced as Britain leaves the EU. Also, despite the fact that Starmer has only been an MP for a little over a year at this point, the article also claims that Starmer “has been touted as a future Labour leader,” although it neglects to mention by whom.
27th October 2016 : New Statesman article : ‘Keir Starmer: I don’t think anybody should underestimate the risks of getting Brexit wrong.’
This article is full of praise for Starmer’s ability to put government Brexiteers to task. Apparently, he shows a ‘forensic scrutiny of govt policy.’ An ex-colleague of Starmer’s is also referenced as saying that he thinks the government is scared of Starmer because they know that he can easily tease out the legal consequences of Brexit, better than the average Brexit-supporting Tory MP. Starmer expresses his serious concerns for an economic downturn, national security and job losses, should the Tories fail to negotiate a deal and we crash out with no terms and no transitional arrangement.
4th November 2016 : Express article : ‘Who is Keir Starmer? Meet the Labour MP who could disrupt Brexit after High Court ruling.’
Following a successful legal challenge, brought by Gina Miller, to block Theresa May from using the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 without Parliamentary consent, Starmer (Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union at the time), calls for MPs to be given a vote on the terms of Brexit and, according to the Express, “made the outlandish claim that the Government has ‘no mandate’ for the terms of negotiations.” The article references an interview with Politico, where Starmer apparently described his vision of post-Brexit Britain as having “the fullest possible” access to the EU single market but with better immigration controls. He also appears to be open to ditching the European Court of Justice. Questioning his commitment to Brexit, they remind their readers that while Starmer says he won’t block Brexit, he’s, nevertheless, demanding that Theresa May publishes her Brexit strategy.
18th November 2016 : Guardian article : ‘Row over McDonnell’s Brexit comments threatens Labour truce.’
The Guardian reports that Starmer is “absolutely furious” over John McDonnell’s pre-autumn statement speech where he urged the party to consider leaving the European Union as an “enormous opportunity”. According to the Guardian, Starmer had already had a row with the leaders office over how much ‘Short money’ (taxpayer funding) he would get for his office, and ‘allies of Corbyn’ apparently told the Guardian that Starmer was being “man marked” because they suspected he would use his prominent new post (as Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union), as a platform from which to launch a future leadership bid. They were also concerned that he was ‘too willing to cede to pressure from some back bench Labour MPs (such as Emma Reynolds, Stephen Kinnock and Rachel Reeves) who wanted tougher controls on freedom of movement and greater limits on immigration.’ The Guardian adds that some centrist Labour MPs in northern heartland seats saw Ukip as a threat and were worried about an early general election. The Guardian speculates that the LibDems would also be considered a threat in other seats, especially given that a recent YouGov poll demonstrated a potential boost in some seats, after they promised a second referendum.
4th December 2016 : Labour List article : ‘Keir Starmer: Labour will fight against hard Brexit and bring country together.’
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, Starmer claimed that only Labour is speaking to both Leave and Remain voters and has the potential to “bring the country back together.” The key, he says, is to understand the core reasons for why Brexit happened. He believes that it’s possible to unite Brexiteers and Remainers whilst also fighting against a hard Brexit but he neglects to explain just how he’s going to do it.
1st January 2017 : Independent article : Brexit: Labour’s Keir Starmer says EU free movement rules ‘have got to be changed’
Starmer, Labour’s Brexit spokesman, says EU free movement rules “have got to be changed” and calls for “a fundamental rethink of immigration rules from start to finish.” The Independent also repeats the mantra that Starmer “is seen by some as a credible future Labour leadership candidate,” without mentioning any names of course.
9th January 2017 : Guardian article : Keir Starmer gagged in Commons debate on victims’ law
The Guardian reports that parliamentary rules are preventing Starmer from taking part in a commons debate on victims’ law. Starmer had previously introduced a private member’s bill to strengthen the right of victims to challenge decisions about criminal investigations and compel people who suspect child abuse to report it. However, parliamentary practice requires that frontbench spokespeople speak only on their departmental responsibilities and Starmer is now the shadow Brexit secretary. So, not really being ‘gagged’ but I guess basic journalistic principles can go out the door when you need an attention grabbing headline?
11th January 2017 : Labour List article : Don’t trust the Tories with workers’ rights after Brexit
Starmer and Melanie Onn, make the case that Brexit could seriously impact workers rights. Onn was in the process of putting forward a backbench bill, designed to enshrine workers’ protections currently covered by EU law. Starmer argued that Priti Patel, the international development secretary, wanted to “get rid of 50 per cent of rights” including the crucial “working time directive”. Starmer adds that Labour might also consider putting forward an amendment to the article 50 legislation.
1st February 2017 : Labour List article : ‘It is our duty to respect the outcome of the referendum, but we remain a European country with shared values’.
Labourlist prints a speech Starmer made during a commons debate on article 50 (interruptions edited out). The crux of the speech is his claim that the Labour Party is “fiercely internationalist” and “pro-European.” He talks about the importance of alliances, international co-operation and collaboration and international rule of law and he recognises the EU as a major trading partner. He talks about collaborations, across the EU, in “research, medicine, technology, education, arts and farming” as well as in tackling “common threats, such as climate change and serious organised crime.” He acknowledges that remain lost the referendum but then goes on to undermine the Brexit victory by pointing out all the “lies and half-truths” pushed by the Brexit campaign and reminds people that the referendum was not legally binding. He then declares “we in the Labour party are, above all, democrats… Two thirds of Labour MPs represent constituencies that voted to leave; one third represent constituencies that voted to remain… we in the Labour party have to accept the result. It follows that the prime minister should not be blocked from starting the article 50 negotiations.” but he then goes on to talk about the importance of having a proper Brexit plan and dives into a series of Labour red lines – Labour would want ‘full tariff and impediment-free access to the single market’ and he also makes it clear that triggering article 50 does not authorise the government to change UK domestic law, immigration laws, tax laws, employment laws, consumer protection laws, environmental laws, or the current arrangements in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. He makes it clear, if she wants to do that then she’ll have to do it in Parliament through primary legislation. He goes on to say that Labour wants the UK to remain in the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Medicines Agency, Europol, Eurojust, the European Environment Agency and Euratom, amongst other things. This is effectively saying that although Labour wouldn’t stop the triggering of article 50, they would want to negotiate an agreement that would, pretty much, resemble the existing EU agreement as closely as possible.
5th February 2017 : Mail on Sunday article : Pressure grows on Jeremy Corbyn after Harriet Harman hails Keir Starmer as the party’s saviour.
5 months before the extraordinary 2017 general election that decimated the Tory majority, a leaked tape recording apparently reveals Harriet Harman hailing Keir Starmer as Corbyn’s successor. According to the Mail, she praises his “wisdom, expertise and ability to solve insoluble problems” and adds.. “It is a miserable time for Labour, but when we hear Keir speak, we feel optimism in difficult times.” She tells activists that they’re lucky to have Kier to steer them through the destabilising impact that Brexit has had on the Labour Party. Harman later denies endorsing Starmer as Corbyn’s successor. The recording also has Starmer telling activist that he wishes Brexit had never happened. In his view, the Tories “are building a divisive version of politics based on what they think some of the 52 per cent who supported Brexit voted for…They want an arm’s length relationship with the EU and to go off buccaneering round the world looking for undiscovered countries to get exploitative free-trade agreements with them.” Starmer goes on.. “Our job is to bring this country back together… We must build a future not for the 52 per cent, or the 48 per cent, but for the 100 per cent.” Unfortunately, at no point does Starmer explain how he, a vocal remainer, plans to win over the trust of the 52% who voted for Brexit.
28th February 2017 : Guardian article : ‘Corbyn partly to blame for Copeland byelection defeat, says Keir Starmer.’
The loss of the Copeland by-election triggers Starmer to declare that the Labour Party is going in the wrong direction, because of weak leadership and has no hope of winning a general election. Bear in mind, at this point, Starmer had only been in politics less than 2yrs. However, Starmer didn’t think that now was a good time for another leadership challenge (probably because he knew there was no chance of anyone ousting Corbyn after the 2016 debacle). He then goes on to dismiss John McDonnell’s claim that there’s a soft coup underway in the party, explaining.. “I think we need to be much clearer about what we stand for; we need to be much clearer about what the challenges of the 2020s, 2030s are.. You’re not going to solve tomorrow’s problems with yesterday’s answer”
24th March 2017 : Guardian article : Keir Starmer interview: ‘Winning elections is all I’m here for, that’s why I came into it’
Decca Aitkenhead interviews Starmer and makes an early bold assessment of Starmer’s reasons for going into politics.. “If he didn’t believe he would one day move into No 10, I doubt he would be there at all.” She describes an ambitious man in private, if not in public and notes that he stood down as a junior shadow minister to back Owen Smith’s leadership challenge but then re-joined the front bench, as Shadow Brexit Secretary, after Corbyn was re-elected. Starmer tells her he rejoined because “Brexit is so important, it would have been neglect of duty to simply sit it out,” and “the right thing to do is to get behind the leader.” Decca points out that Starmer is ‘passionately pro-EU’, with a constituency that voted heavily to remain and things have become even more problematic for him after Labour imposed a three-line whip supporting the Tories’ Brexit bill, so now Starmer is supporting legislation he doesn’t believe in for a leader he didn’t want in the first place. Decca describes Starmer’s office as “brutally tidy.. in military-grade order” and remarks that his “clutter-free desk suggests a severity of discipline I doubt I’d have guessed had we met somewhere else, and it looks like of evidence of ruthless purpose.” Starmer tells her he’s come to accept the referendum result but is now determined to “fight over what version of the future we want… If this goes the way I hope it will go, and will fight for it to go, there will be in due course a new treaty that is the EU-UK treaty. Something that, while it’s not formal membership, reflects our belief that we do things together with our EU partners; we don’t sever and walk away from them.” It’s clear Starmer sees his job as Brexit damage limitation. Starmer spends the second half of this article effectively pitching a leadership bid (bear in mind this is barely 11 weeks before the 2017 general election). He starts by criticising Labour (and therefore the Corbyn leadership) for failing to make a winning case for remaining, or offering a meaningful vision of a future. He talks about how, during his time as immigration minister, he spoke to people all over the country who all apparently told him that Labour needed to have “a skills agenda.” He’s in full leadership campaign mode at this point, talking about what “Labour’s vision” should be and his idea of “a future-looking Labour programme.” He claims it should be possible to improve public services with less money and tells us he wants to improve the criminal justice system and that his long term strategy is to stop kids from underprivileged backgrounds ending up in prison. According to Starmer, that’s how Labour could win elections. It seems Starmer will do and say whatever it takes to clear a path to number 10, including stabbing Corbyn in the back just weeks before an election. It seems that because the 2016 failed leadership challenge proved that the majority of the Labour members stood by Corbyn, the Labour right felt that the only way they could remove Corbyn would be to sabotage the general election by undermining his leadership. It certainly wouldn’t harm Starmer’s prospects to sabotage Labours election campaign and bring about a new leadership challenge. Decca then reveals that Starmer is about to deliver a big Chatham House speech on the party’s future direction and asks, if he’s serious about shaping a new path for Labour, who are the colleagues he’s discussing his ideas with (his collaborators in other words). Starmer tells her that his support is “across the party” but he discusses new ideas with “various colleagues around in the PLP.” Decca points out.. “The identity of his collaborators is never disclosed, but from his cagey evasions one thing is perfectly clear: they do not include Labour’s leadership.”
27th March 2017 : LabourList article : Keir Starmer: Labour has six tests for Brexit – if they’re not met we won’t back the final deal in parliament
Starmer rejects a no-deal Brexit and insists the final deal must provide the “exact same benefits” from Europe for the British economy, apparently quoting David Davis’ own words in the Commons. Starmer’s six tests are… 1. Does it ensure a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU? 2. Does it deliver the “exact same benefits” as we currently have as members of the single market and customs union? 3. Does it ensure the fair management of migration in the interests of the economy and communities? 4. Does it defend rights and protections and prevent a race to the bottom? 5. Does it protect national security and our capacity to tackle cross-border crime? 6. Does it deliver for all regions and nations of the UK?
26th April 2017 : Daily Mail article : “Humiliation of Sir Flip-flop, the luvvie Left’s darling tipped to topple Corbyn
Andrew Pierce appraises Starmer’s chances of leading the Labour party. Pierce seems unimpressed with Starmer’s mixed messaging over Brexit and believes that Starmer is going to ignore the referendum result and ‘surrender’ to Brussels. Pierce describes Starmer as ‘uber-ambitious’ but reminds us that, only last year, he was abandoning ship and crying out for a new leader and now he’s back in the cabinet as Shadow Brexit Secretary. Delving into Starmer’s legal background, among other things, Pierce tells us, it wasn’t that long ago that Starmer was fighting anti-Brexit legal challenges against the gov’t in court.
19th May 2017 : Guardian article : “Labour’s 2015 election result is no yardstick for success, says Starmer.”
Barely 3 weeks to go to the 2017 General Election but, while most Labour members are out campaigning hard to win, Starmer launches a pre-emptive strike on Corbyn, announcing that unless Corbyn achieves massive gains, his days are numbered. On a side note, he made this remark while touring marginal constituencies, apparently to help bolster the morale of Labour candidates. First of all, I imagine the Shadow Brexit Secretary is a well known Europhile and would have gone down like a lead balloon in most marginals and, let us not forget, Labour centrists (likely allies of Starmer), were busy working, behind the scenes, to sabotage the Labour campaign by re-directing funds and resources, away from these very same marginals and towards safe centrist seats (https://spotlight-newspaper.co.uk/politics/01/29/labour-centrists-sabotaged-more-than-the-finance-bill-rebecca/). There’s a particularly telling commentary by the Guardian’s political editor at the very end of this article.. “Privately, Labour candidates who won last time with majorities as high as 8,000 are fretting about whether they will still have a job on 9 June, especially where Ukip polled well last time and is not standing candidates this time around.” In other words, Brexiteer Ukip voters were expected to swing behind Conservative candidates. In fact, most Labour candidates saw a significant boost to their majorities in 2017 but this statement suggests at least one clear motive for why funds and resources were being re-directed away from where they could have had the most impact.
1st June 2017 : Guardian article : Keir Starmer tells Owen Jones: ‘Brexit is an opportunity for sensible immigration rules’
1 week before the general election. Starmer shares his views on Brexit with Owen Jones. He’s adamant that we have to accept the referendum result and acknowledges that leaving the EU means an end to freedom of movement but says that we must now have a new deal with the EU, one with a sensible immigration rules. A no-deal Brexit would be disastrous, in his view.
3rd June 2017 : Independent article : Keir Starmer reveals details of Labour’s plan for Brexit if they win the election
5 days before the general election, Starmer ‘reveals details of Labour’s plan for a soft Brexit if Labour win the election.’ He announces that he will take the lead in face-to-face Brexit talks with the EU’s top negotiator, Michel Barnier. He adds that, although he plans to refuse a key Brussels demand, i.e. for the European Court of Justice to be final guarantor for EU citizens rights after Brexit, he is prepared to allow them to have an ongoing role in trade disputes. He criticises Theresa May’s negotiating strategy, saying she was wrong to accuse them of trying to swing the UK’s election. In his view, May has “taken lots of options off the table and.. set a belligerent tone with our EU colleagues,” and we need to be more “flexible and smart.” Starmer believes we should also allow the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to have a new role in dispute resolution for individuals and businesses under a new agreement with the EU.
7th June 2017 : BBC article : Labour’s Keir Starmer says IRA comments were ‘regrettable’
A day before the election, the BBC reports that Labour’s Keir Starmer says past comments by party colleagues about the IRA were “regrettable”. The article then shows an image of Jeremy Corbyn with Gerry Adams at the House of Commons, in May 1995. However, the only comment they reference is Jeremy saying “all bombing is wrong.” They also attack Diane Abbott for a comment she made 34yrs earlier and then they drop in an image of London Bridge attacker Rachid Redouane, apparently because he lived in Dublin, as if to imply that the Irish republic is some kind of hotbed for terrorism. This is not journalism by any stretch of the imagination, it’s a despicable attempt to smear the Labour leadership and to construct a narrative around support for terrorists. Of course it wouldn’t serve Starmer’s interests to defend Corbyn or his allies. After all, everything I’ve read, up to this point, suggests that Starmer wants the top job for himself.
7th June 2017 : Guardian article : ‘Keir Starmer: UK human rights law does not prevent capture of terrorists’.
Starmer challenges Theresa May’s proposal to change the Human Rights act. May believes its necessary to remove any obstacles that might prevent the successful capture and prosecution of terrorists. Starmer argues.. “There is no incompatibility between protecting human rights and taking effective action against terrorists… If we start throwing away our adherence to human rights in response to what has happened in the last three months, we are throwing away the values at the heart of the democracy, everything that we say we believe in” and adds that he personally never found it to be a barrier to successful prosecutions of terrorists or those preparing acts of terrorism. In fact, in his experience, it was “officers on the ground that often pick up key intelligence” which helped to bring about successful prosecutions so, if May genuinely wanted to improve the rate of successful prosecutions, she should look at policing cuts.
5th July 2017 : FT article : Labour party calls on May to drop ECJ ‘red line’
Starmer submits letter to the FT (cosigned by Jonathan Ashworth, shadow health secretary at the time) to let them know that Labour will be seeking for the UK to have a more “co-operative future relationship” with the EU “not as members but as partners”. In the letter, he calls on Theresa May to drop her drop ECJ ‘red line’ so the UK can retain access to key EU organisations, such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Europol and Euratom.
NOTE: This report has been sponsored by Spotlight readers. We’re currently hoping to find sponsorship for further research so we can produce a report on Starmer’s public profile between Aug 2017 and Sept 2023. We also want to investigate his work for the CPS and as DPP, as well as his voting record. You can sponsor this research by donating to our Starmer Deep Dive GoFundme Page…
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