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Sir Keir Starmer KCB KC (/ˈkɪər ˈstɑːrmər/; born 2 September 1962) is a British Labour Party politician and barrister who is the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition. Previously, he was the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
- The referendum is clear and has to be accepted and we can't have a re-run of the question that was put to the country earlier this year. But, and it's a big but, there has to be democratic grip of the process and, at the moment, what the prime minister's trying to do is to manoeuvre without any scrutiny in Parliament and that's why the terms on, which we're going to negotiate absolutely have to be put to a vote in the House.
- "Brexit: MPs should vote on talks, says Labour's Starmer" BBC News (9 October 2016)
- We accept and respect the outcome of the referendum.
- "Reality Check: Could High Court ruling on Article 50 scupper Brexit?" BBC News (3 November 2016)
- What I think is really important is that the government aims high. My worry is that the government has attached so much importance to immigration that it's not even going to try to get the best access to the single market. In other words, it's going to give up before it starts. My sense is that the government is saying 'because we want to take such a hard line on immigration we are going to give up on parts of the argument that would be better for the economy'.
- "Brexit talks should include free movement, says Keir Starmer" BBC News (10 November 2016)
- I wish the result had gone the other way. I campaigned passionately for that. But as democrats our party has to accept that result and it follows that the prime minister should not be blocked from starting the Article 50 negotiations.
- "Brexit decision 'difficult' for Labour, Keir Starmer says" BBC News (31 January 2017)
- What's clear, from the CBI and others, is that there is no result that would be worse for the British economy than leaving [the EU] with no deal
- "Brexit: Donald Tusk warns UK against 'no deal threat'" BBC News (15 March 2017)
- The Labour Party has supported strong counter-terrorism legislation over the years and we have that commitment in our manifesto
- "Labour's Keir Starmer says IRA comments were 'regrettable'" BBC News (7 June 2017)
- We are absolutely clear we can not have a hard border we need to negotiate with our EU partners.
- "Labour's Keir Starmer says IRA comments were 'regrettable'" BBC News (7 June 2017)
- Labour would seek a transitional deal that maintains the same basic terms that we currently enjoy with the EU. That means we would seek to remain in a customs union with the EU and within the single market during this period. It means we would abide by the common rules of both.
- "Brexit: Keep single market for transition period - Labour" BBC News (27 August 2017)
- Remaining in a form of customs union after a transition post-Brexit phase remained a possible end destination for the Labour party.
- "Labour conference: Starmer claims 'grown-up' Brexit stance" BBC News (25 September 2017)
- [I want a partnership with the EU that] retains the benefits of the single market and the customs union
- "Brexit: David Davis wants 'Canada plus plus plus' trade deal" BBC News (10 December 2017)
- Obviously, there are lots of benefits from a customs union, none more so, in many respects, than in Northern Ireland.
- "Sir Keir Starmer makes NI warning over Brexit deal" BBC News (29 January 2018)
- We all want to do bold new trade agreements but we would be better off doing that with the EU.
- "Labour wants permanent customs union treaty after Brexit - Starmer" BBC News (25 February 2018)
- Benefits of the single market and customs union... need to be hard-wired into the final agreement
- "Labour frontbencher Owen Smith backs another EU referendum" BBC News (23 March 2018)
- There's a growing view, I think probably a majority view in Parliament now, that it's in our national interests and economic interests to stay in a customs union with the EU. We've got a huge manufacturing sector in the UK that needs to be protected, with many goods going over borders many, many times, and we need to protect that.
- "Brexit: Senior MPs to force customs union vote" BBC News (19 April 2018)
- It is right for Parliament to have the first say but if we need to break the impasse, our options must include campaigning for a public vote and nobody is ruling out Remain as an option.
- "Labour conference: Members vote to keep referendum option open" BBC News (25 September 2018)
- I remain as convinced as ever that the consequences of no deal would be so severe that it cannot be allowed to happen.
- "Brexit: New referendum still an option, says Emily Thornberry" BBC News (11 November 2018)
- During the talks, almost literally as we were sitting in the room talking, cabinet members and wannabe Tory leaders were torpedoing the talks with remarks about not being willing to accept the customs union. In terms of the team that we were negotiating with, I'm not blaming them. Circling around those that were in the room trying to negotiate were others who didn't want the negotiation to succeed because they had their eye on what was coming next.
- "Brexit: Withdrawal Agreement Bill 'should include public vote'" BBC News (18 May 2019)
- When you say you will leave without a deal - do or die - what sort of message does that send to the people of Northern Ireland?
- "Sir Keir Starmer: MPs 'casual' about no-deal Brexit for NI" BBC News (23 September 2019)
- Passover is also a fitting moment for me to acknowledge the pain and hurt that the Labour Party has caused Jewish people in recent years Anti-Semitism has been a stain on our party. I have seen first-hand the unacceptable and unimaginable levels of grief and distress it has caused many in the Jewish community and beyond. It is why my very first act on becoming leader over the weekend was to apologise for the hurt that has been caused. I want to apologise again and reiterate my pledge to tear out this poison by its roots.
- The principle of what I want to achieve is clear: if you are anti-Semitic, you cannot and should not be in the Labour Party. No ifs, no buts.
- "Keir Starmer: I apologise to the Jewish community — rebuilding your trust starts now" Evening Standard (7 September 2020)
- Extracts from a pre-recorded speech on 4 April 2020 when Starmer became leader of the Labour Party.
- There are four elections on Thursday 6 May.
- Twitter Kieran Glasssmith
- I will change the things that need changing and that is the change that I will bring about.
- Twitter Adam Bienkov
- So let me be very clear: with Labour, Britain will not go back into the EU. We will not be joining the single market. We will not be joining a customs union.
- Speech quoted in "Starmer ends Labour silence on Brexit as he rules out rejoining single market", The Guardian (4 July 2022).
- [Asked if he was concerned about the police dealing with anti-monarchist protesters during a period of national mourning six days after Queen Elizabeth II died.] The word I would use around that issue is respect. I think if people have spent a long time waiting to come forward to have that moment as the coffin goes past or whatever it may be, I think respect that, because people have made a huge effort to come and have that private moment to say thank you to Queen Elizabeth II.
Respect that. Obviously we have to respect the fact that some people disagree. One of the great British traditions is the ability to protest and to disagree.
But I think if it can be done in the spirit of respect. Respect the fact that hundreds of thousands of people do want to come forward and have that moment. Don’t ruin it for them.
But also we do need to respect the fact that other people must be entitled to express their different views.
- Comments on the BBC Breakfast programme, cited in "Don't 'ruin' the period of mourning, Sir Keir Starmer tells anti-royalists" The Telegraph (14 September 2022)
- Today I want to set out what's at stake for Britain, because while politics is always about choices, the choice now is as stark as it gets. We face a battle for the soul of our country, who we are, who we're for, and the Labour choices of Britian is that it's greener, fairer, and more dynamic.
- Government is in turmoil, Starmer calls for an Election Speech (October 2022)
- So that means fair rules, firm rules, a points-based system. What I would like to see is the numbers go down in some areas. I think we're recruiting too many people from overseas into, for example, the health service. But on the other hand, if we need high-skilled people in innovation in tech to set up factories etc, then I would encourage that.
- [Opposing a future Scottish independence referendum regardless of the Supreme Court in London potentially deciding to accept the Scottish Parliament has a legal right to hold one.] It's good the case has gone to court because I think it's better to have legal certainty, so we all know the basis on which we're operating [...] All the court is going to be able to rule is, if it does rule in favour, is that there could or can be, [that] it's legally permissible to have a referendum. That doesn't answer the political question, which is 'should there be a referendum'?
- Interviewed on The Sunday Show (BBC Scotland television programme, 6 November 2022), as cited in "Keir Starmer says NHS jobs must be filled domestically as he fails to set out democratic route to independence"], The Scotsman (7 November 2022).
- We took the decision to leave and we have left. So now what we need to do is rather than just sticking with the deal we've got which is not good enough, we need to make Brexit work.
- Interviewed on The Sunday Show (BBC Scotland television programme, 6 November 2022), as quoted in "Keir Starmer: There is no case for returning to the EU" The Herald (Glasgow, 6 November 2022).
- Antisemitism is an evil. It is a very specific type of racism, one that festers and spreads like an infection. Its conspiratorial nature attracts those who would have no truck with any other form of prejudice. Indeed, it can be those who call themselves "anti-racist" who are most blind to it. The reason the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) opened their investigation into the Labour Party was because it had become an incubator for this poison. We needed to change. That's why my first act as leader was to commit to tearing antisemitism out by the roots, without fear or favour.
- The Labour Party I lead today is unrecognisable from 2019. There are those who don’t like that change, who still refuse to see the reality of what had gone on under the previous leadership. To them I say in all candour: we are never going back. If you don’t like it, nobody is forcing you to stay.
- The Labour Party I lead is patriotic. It is a party of public service, not protest. It is a party of equality, justice and fairness; one that proudly puts the needs of working people above any fringe interest. It is a party that doesn't just talk about change – it delivers it.
- "Keir Starmer: My Labour is patriotic, a party of equality not protest" The Times (14 February 2023)
Quotes about Starmer
- The new leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour party on Saturday apologised to the Jewish community for anti-Semitism in its ranks, calling it a "stain" and pledging to stamp it out. "On behalf of the Labour Party, I am sorry," Keir Starmer said in a statement after his victory was announced. "I will tear out this poison by its roots and judge success by the return of Jewish members and those who felt that they could no longer support us."
- "Keir Starmer: New UK Labour party leader apologises for anti-Semitism", news.com.au (4 April 2020).
- Article uses copy from AFP and AP.