| Sir Keir Starmer |
|Alma mater||University of Leeds, St Edmund Hall (Oxford)|
|Member of||Trilateral Commission|
Sir Keir Starmer is a UK politician and former Head of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions, where he was central in making sure the case against Julian Assange continued. He has been a Labour Party Member of Parliament since the 2015 General Election, and on 6 October 2016 he was appointed Shadow Brexit Secretary by Jeremy Corbyn. Starmer soon became part of the effort to oust Corbyn as Labour leader.
On 4 April 2020, following the 2020 Labour Party leadership contest, Sir Keir Starmer was elected Leader of the Labour Party to succeed Jeremy Corbyn. On 17 April 2020, it was revealed that Starmer had received a £50,000 donation from pro-Israel lobbyist Trevor Chinn – information which was not disclosed until after polls had closed in the leadership election.
Keir Starmer was born in 1962 in Southwark, London. His father, Rod Starmer, was a toolmaker, and his mother, Josephine Starmer (née Baker), was a nurse. Starmer’s parents were both staunch Labour supporters, and they named Keir – their second son – after the first leader of the Labour Party, Keir Hardie.
In contrast to his three siblings who all went the the local Comprehensive school, Starmer passed his 11-plus exam and gained entry into Reigate Grammar school. Starmer then studied law at Leeds University, where he graduated with a first-class Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 1985, before winning a place at Oxford where he graduated with a Bachelor of Civic Law (BCL) in 1986.
A year after graduating from St Edmund Hall (Oxford), Starmer became a Barrister at the Middle Temple. He was then appointed as a member of the Queen’s Counsel (QC) in 2002, and moved to Doughty Street Chambers the following year.
Starmer’s legal work primarily consisted of human rights issues, with one of his most notable successes being the so-called “McLibel” case where he assisted two environmental activists, Helen Steel and David Morris, in a highly contentious case brought against them by the US fast-food giants, McDonald’s.
McDonald’s had accused Steel and Morris of libel after they produced and publicised a factsheet which contained numerous claims that were highly critical of the company’s ethics and practices. Both were refused legal aid in order to defend themselves, but received substantial pro-bono assistance from a number of lawyers, including Starmer.
During the trial, McDonald’s initially argued that all the claims in Steel and Morris’s pamplet were false, but, after almost ten years of legal wranglings, a number of the claims in the document were eventually proved to be true – including the claims that McDonalds did “exploit children“, that they were “culpably responsible” for unnecessary cruelty to animals, and that the company were “antipathetic” to the unionisation of workers and helped to “depress wages in the catering trade“.
In addition to his role in the McLibel case, Starmer undertook substantial legal work challenging the death penalty in the Caribbean and Africa, and he also worked as a human rights advisor to the Policing Board in Northern Ireland.
Following years of successful legal work in the field of human rights, and after being named QC of the Year in 2007, Starmer was named as the new Head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in 2008.
Director of Public Prosecutions
During his role as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) (2008 to 2013), Keir Starmer oversaw the prosecution and conviction of a number of MPs and Lords who abused their taxpayer-funded parliamentary expenses, and the successful retrial of the killers of Stephen Lawrence.
All of Keir Starmer's predecessors as DPP received knighthoods for the role, and he was no different. He was awarded a knighthood in 2014 for "services to law and criminal justice" and is therefore entitled to be known as "Sir Keir Starmer".
Starmer failed to bring charges against Jimmy Savile for paedophilia. The decision was made despite the Crown Prosecution Service receiving substantial evidence of his crimes from witnesses and victims several years before Savile died in 2011.
In December 2010, as Julian Assange prepared to appear at London's High Court to hear an appeal against a lower court's decision to release him on bail, Keir Starmer was asked to comment on reports in The Guardian newspaper that Sweden has "not got a view at all on bail". Starmer told BBC radio:
- "The general position and the nature of the arrangement is absolutely clear. The Crown Prosecution Service acts here as agents of the government seeking extradition, in this case the Swedish government. These proceedings are brought as agents of the Swedish government."
A spokeswoman for the Swedish prosecutor's office, Karin Rosander, told AFP the decision to oppose bail was "a decision of the British prosecutor and that is what the British prosecutor's office has confirmed to me."
According to Freedom of Information searches by the Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, Sweden tried to drop the Assange case in 2011, but a CPS official in London told the Swedish prosecutor not to treat it as “just another extradition”.
Keir Starmer has also encountered criticism over the CPS’s decision to release the prolific serial rapist, John Worboys, from prison, as well as the decision not to pursue 75 further allegations made against him. However, in 2018, the CPS issued a statement claiming the Starmer had no role in either of the decisions regarding Worboys.
Ian Tomlinson was brutally attacked by police officer Simon Harwood in 2009. Harwood hit Tomlinson, who was walking with his hands in his pockets in the other direction, across the back of the legs with a baton. Tomlinson was unable to break his fall, causing fatal internal bleeding to his liver shortly afterwards. Fifteen months later, Starmer announced that Harwood would not be prosecuted. The CPS proceeded a few months later when an inquest jury found that Tomlinson had been unlawfully killed.
In 2011, Starmer was in court to witness the collapse of a trial of environmental activists after the involvement of undercover police officer Mark Kennedy was revealed. The case began the “Spycops” scandal, which has since exposed the extensive, long-term infiltration of left-wing and environmentalist groups by police agents, who grossly abused the rights of campaigners and perverted the course of justice in countless court cases. The CPS is suspected of having been closely involved.
As DPP, Starmer refused to pursue the matter. Referring to an in-house CPS investigation, he accepted the manifestly untrue: “If Sir Christopher Rose had found systemic problems, then I would quite accept perhaps a retrospective look at all the cases. But he didn’t, he found individual failings.”
Protection of MI5 and MI6
Under his direction, the CPS refused to prosecute MI5 and MI6 personnel in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The agents were suspected of participating in CIA extraordinary rendition programmes and the torture of detainees in Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan.
In 2013, after Tory Chancellor George Osborne launched a gutter-press campaign against “benefits cheats,” Starmer issued guidelines for the CPS allowing those accused of improperly drawing social security to be charged under the Fraud Act. This allowed for sentences of up to 10 years. He also removed the financial threshold on sending cases to Crown Court, meaning even the most trivial “offences” could be punished with long-term jail time.
Following the London riots in 2012 and the rubber-stamp sentencing of over 1,000 young people, Starmer praised the efforts to rush defendants through the courts: “For me it was the speed that I think may have played some small part in bringing the situation back under control.” He visited Highbury Magistrates Court in North London in the early hours of the morning to boost the morale of the prosecutors and praise their efficiency.
During the infamous so-called “Chicken Coup”, less than a year after the Labour membership had handed Jeremy Corbyn a massive mandate to lead the party, numerous Labour Shadow Cabinet Ministers instigated co-ordinated resignations from the front bench in a deeply cynical attempt to remove him as leader.
In his resignation letter dated 27 June 2016, Keir Starmer – who was a Shadow Immigration Minister at the time – essentially claimed that because a lot of other Shadow Ministers had resigned, he decided to resign too. In the opening paragraph of Starmer’s letter, he claims that he initially “respected the mandate” that Labour members had given to Jeremy Corbyn to lead the party.
Starmer then uses two different excuses for his decision to disregard the democratic will of Labour members: claiming that the party needed a “louder voice” regarding Brexit, and that Mr Corbyn’s position was “untenable” because so many Shadow Ministers had resigned.
In the subsequent 2016 Labour leadership election, Starmer went on to support the astonishingly dour, former big pharma lobbyist, Owen Smith.
During the 2016 "Chicken Coup", the right thing to do would have clearly been to trust the decision of Labour members, rather than an overwhelmingly right-wing and detached Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), and support the democratically elected leader of the party. Had the PLP been united, Labour may well have been in a position to gain the few thousands extra votes necessary to have formed a government in the UK/2017 General Election campaign.
Unfortunately, Starmer’s willingness to disregard clear democratic decisions in favour of what he thinks is right is not an isolated incident, with the Shadow Brexit Secretary becoming the architect of Labour’s decision to change their Brexit policy from respecting the result in 2017 to supporting a second referendum in 2019 – a policy regarded as the main reason that the party lost huge numbers of seats in their pro-Leave heartlands to the Tories in December’s General Election.
Whilst Labour may still have lost the election had they continued with their 2017 Brexit policy to respect the Brexit vote, they would unquestionably have been far closer to the Conservative Party in terms of votes – with the only genuine question being whether the Lib Dems would have been able to charge through the middle on their pro-Remain platform.
Moreover, at the UK/2019 General Election, the right thing to do – electorally speaking – would have been to continue to support the democratic decision of the British people regarding the Brexit vote. Labour’s decision to support a second referendum is clearly not the only reason for their loss, but it was certainly a huge factor in the sheer scale of it – and Starmer was crucial in pushing the party towards it.
|Document:How Keir Starmer Sabotaged Rebecca Long-Bailey||Article||26 June 2020||Ronan Burtenshaw||Rebecca Long-Bailey’s approach to schools reopening had been entirely vindicated: she backed teachers and their unions as they changed the political terrain and forced the Tory government into a concession. This was politics in the best traditions of the labour movement but was anathema to Sir Keir Starmer.|
|Document:How top Labour officials plotted to bring down Jeremy Corbyn||Article||16 April 2020||Jonathan Cook||The stench of cover-up is already in the air. Keir Starmer's Labour needs to come clean and admit that its most senior officials defrauded hundreds of thousands of party members, and millions more supporters, who voted for a fairer, kinder Britain.|
|Document:Julian Assange Must be Freed, Not Betrayed||Article||18 February 2020||John Pilger||Sarah Ferguson's interview made no mention of a leaked document, revealed by WikiLeaks, called 'Libya Tick Tock', prepared for Hillary Clinton, which described her as the central figure driving the destruction of the Libyan state in 2011. This resulted in 40,000 deaths, the arrival of ISIS in North Africa and the European refugee and migrant crisis.|
|Document:Keir Starmer's ‘antisemitism’ sacking is a signal that Israel is safe in his hands||Article||29 June 2020||Jonathan Cook||Crackdown by UK Labour leader on left-wing rival will subdue critics of Israel in his party ahead of Israel's annexation move|
|Document:Labour's next leader has already betrayed the left||blog post||21 February 2020||Jonathan Cook||The next Leader of the Labour Party is already a prisoner to the "institutional antisemitism" narrative. That means their hands are chained not only to support for Israel, but to the reactionary politics in which Israel as a Jewish state makes sense – a worldview that embraces its style of ethnic, chauvinist, militaristic, segregationist politics.|
|Document:Letter to Sir Keir from a newly resigned member of the Labour Party||Letter||8 April 2020||Bronagh Wilson||The Labour Party is now dead, it has ceased to be, it is bereft of life. You Sir Keir and your fellow travellers disgust me and it is time you PASOKed right off!.|
|Document:That Leaked Labour Party Report||blog post||20 April 2020||Craig Murray||That Leaked Labour Party Report proves conclusively that Sam Matthews’ allegations of unwarranted interference from Corbyn’s office to block anti-semitism action are malicious lies.|
|Document:Who is the new UK Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer?||Article||7 April 2020||Thomas Scripps||Jeremy Corbyn spent the best part of five years straddling a popular movement against austerity and war. The fruit of his labour is the election of a backroom state functionary to the Labour leadership. Sir Keir Starmer will make a fitting figurehead for the party’s final descent into political oblivion.|
- "Appointed Shadow Brexit Secretary by Jeremy Corbyn"
- "Labour leadership: Phillips and Nandy secure nominations"
- "Congratulations to @Keir_Starmer, the new Leader of the Labour Party!"
- "Keir Starmer received £50,000 donation from pro-Israel lobbyist in leadership bid"
- Nina Goswami: "Keir Starmer QC appointed DPP"
- Frances Gibb: "Human rights lawyer Keir Starmer named as new prosecution service chief"
- "Why Sir Keir Starmer was knighted: How the Labour leadership contender earned his title – and what he has said about it"
- "Sweden had 'no say' in Assange bail appeal"
- Document:Julian Assange Must be Freed, Not Betrayed
- "CPS statement on John Worboys"
- "Labour Leadership Election 2020 Candidate Profile: Keir Starmer"