Keir Starmer

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Keir Starmer in 2017

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.
  • 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'.


  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • I will change the things that need changing and that is the change that I will bring about.


  • [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.
  • 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.
  • The only mandate she's ever had was from members opposite. It was a mandate built on fantasy economics, and it ended in disaster. The country's got nothing to show for it except the destruction of the economy and the implosion of the Tory Party. I've got the list here: 45p tax cut, gone. Corporation tax cut, gone. 20p tax cut, gone. Two-year energy freeze, gone. Tax-free shopping, gone. Economic credibility, gone! And her supposed best friend the former chancellor, he's gone as well. They're all gone! So why is she still here?
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • They blew up for me an incredibly detailed photograph of a lung with very dark marks on it which were all the air pollution from our roads which were causing cancer in that and many other patients.
    It's worth us all just asking ourselves...if we are not prepared to do these sort of schemes what are we going to do.
    If increasing numbers of people, and young people as well, are getting cancer...I have to say..intake of breath when I saw the phot[o]graph, they said there are the dark areas that are lung cancer because of it (air pollution). We can’t just sit that out.
  • [On the Just Stop Oil protests] I can't wait for them to stop their antics, frankly. They're interrupting iconic sporting events that are part of our history, tradition and massively looked forward to across the nation. I absolutely condemn the way they go about their tactics. And I have to say it's riddled with an arrogance that only they have the sort of right to force their argument on other people in this way.
  • Further information came to light yesterday calling for decisive action, so I took decisive action. It is a huge thing to withdraw support for a Labour candidate during the course of a by-election. It's a tough decision, a necessary decision, but when I say the Labour Party has changed under my leadership I mean it.

About Starmer[edit]

  • If you want a culture wars warrior, Starmer is not your man. If you want a radical socialist who seeks to overturn capitalism, Starmer is not your man. If you want an entertainer, a comedian, a tweeter, Starmer is not your man. If you want to rerun previous leaders, Wilson or Blair, or someone who runs an agile team firing on all cylinders, sorry, Starmer is not your man. But if you want a leader who might start to heal the sinews of an enfeebled state and anaemic economy, and who will work in the interests of the relatively powerless, then he may very well be who we need.

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