Sir Keir is making an opportunistic tilt to the left

Friday, 17th January 2020

The following statement was agreed unanimously at a meeting of Camden Momentum, attended by over 50 people.

• CAMDEN Momentum organises within Keir Starmer’s Holborn & St Pancras Constituency Labour Party (CLP). It has been clear to us for years that Starmer has been positioning himself to become leader of the Labour Party.

Now that he has launched his campaign, it’s equally clear he’s making an opportunistic tilt to the left – because he correctly perceives that the majority of the membership wants to continue what Jeremy Corbyn started.

Starmer has hired some of Corbyn’s former advisers; at his campaign launch, he said that he doesn’t want to “trash” Corbyn’s legacy as we “move forward”.

But based on our experience, we do not trust him to follow through on these gestures and warm words. Leaving aside his public role in steering Labour towards the electorally disastrous people’s vote campaign, he has not sought to engage with, encourage or welcome the left at the local level.

In Holborn & St Pancras, he has built a team around him that has worked tirelessly to marginalise the left within the CLP, yet he now calls for an end to “factionalism”.

The fact that the CLP executive mooted to suspend constituency-level meetings during the leadership campaign suggests Starmer will hardly be a leader to empower or listen to the membership.

Before Jeremy’s leadership Starmer abstained on the welfare bill that forced poverty on the poorest, mostly women.

Starmer called for an end to free movement and stronger restrictions on European Union workers. He says immigration is “too high”, and pledged to reduce it as Britain leaves the EU, despite Corbyn ruling out any cap.

As Director of Public Prosecutions, Starmer approved the decision not to prosecute police involved in killing Jean Charles de Menezes.

Women Against Rape, based in Camden, pressed Starmer, as head of the Crown Prosecution Service, to end the policy of prosecuting rape survivors disbelieved by the police, similar to the recent case in Cyprus.

Starmer refused to change the policy, undermining women’s ability to report rape and landing some in prison for years.

While Starmer headed the CPS, it repeatedly urged Swedish authorities not to interview Julian Assange in the UK, putting unprecedented pressure to keep the Swedish case open. The CPS incited Swedish prosecutors: “Don’t you dare get cold feet!”

His history says what we need to know about his political instincts. We have no doubt he will revert to type should Labour members deliver him the leadership.

Can he win back seats lost in the Midlands and the North? Will he have the courage and principles to stand up to relentless media attacks on the barest hint of socialism?

Will he continue the transformation of the Labour Party into a socialist, democratic and member-led organisation? We do not think so; we think he will roll back the few gains that have been made during Corbyn’s time as leader.

If you are a member or supporter of the Labour Party who has been inspired or enthused by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership; if you want our movement to continue travelling in the direction of socialism, internationalism and solidarity: we urge you not to vote for Keir Starmer.


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