Posts Tagged ‘Keir Starmer’

Starmer is right: Only Labour can stop a blank cheque Brexit

25/04/2017, 11:14:50 PM

by David Ward

At times it felt like we’d completely bypassed the election and gone straight into the leadership contest. Jenny Chapman introduced Keir Starmer as “clear, articulate, and strong” and one of the “bravest, most sincere, people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with”.

Yet with the inescapable reality of the stopped clock on the adjacent wall telling the right time twice a day, Starmer had to bring us back into the present and tell us what Labour’s policy on Brexit would be.

For an election speech there was quite a bit of policy in there. Guarantee the rights of EU nationals, an end to free movement, a laser focus on jobs and the economy in negotiations. Although it isn’t clear how Labour would “retain the benefits” of the single market and customs union.

But the specifics were less important than the narrative. If this election is about who runs Brexit, Starmer’s message is voting labour is the only way to keep May honest.

This is surely right. Because there are reasons to be concerned about giving the PM such a free hand regardless of whether you supported Leave or Remain.

A huge majority for May simply allows her free rein to strike almost any agreement, impervious to criticism.

For example many leavers, including Labour voters, were motivated by concerns about immigration last summer. Yet already Theresa May has suggested free movement could continue after Britain leaves the EU.


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Labour’s general election campaign will be dominated by the battle to succeed Corbyn

18/04/2017, 06:53:07 PM

by Atul Hatwal

The shock of the election announcement is already subsiding. The grim reality is clear.

A common expectation across the PLP is that Labour will lose 70 to 80 seats, reducing Labour’s Westminster representation from 231 (232 including Simon Danczuk) to around 150, its lowest level since 1931.

Jeremy Corbyn is not going to be prime minister. He’s not going to be Labour leader by close of business on June 9th.

The primary purpose of the general election campaign, for a doomed Labour party, will be as a prologue to the leadership election that is now inevitable over summer – the third year running that Labour has voted on its leader.

Brexit will define everything.

During the general election campaign, Labour’s frailties on Brexit will be brutally exposed.

Keir Starmer might have set some tests for what constitute acceptable terms for Brexit but Labour’s current position is that the party would not vote against the final deal, regardless of whether the tests have been met or not.

This position will fall apart over the coming weeks.

It’s inconceivable that Labour spokespeople can make a case that Theresa May is pushing for a hard Brexit that would wreck the lives of Britons while saying in the same breath that the party would not oppose such a deal in the final vote.


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Joint statement by John Yates and Keir Starmer on phone hacking

11/04/2011, 05:38:20 PM

Joint statement by MPS Acting Deputy Commissioner John Yates and the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC:

There has been a significant amount of interest in recent weeks among the media over understanding of the complex law in respect of phone hacking, particularly in relation to the prosecutions of Goodman and Mulcaire. We have both written to, and appeared before, the relevant Parliamentary Select Committees providing detailed evidence on this matter to give an account of our best understanding of what took place five years ago.

Neither of us had responsibility for this case at the time it was originally prosecuted. We have, therefore, both sought to interpret, as best we can, the original documentation and the recollections of those involved. The relevant information is now in the public domain.

We, and others in our organisations, would now like to focus together on the current investigation, in the same way that we work closely and constructively on a daily basis on numerous other cases and complex issues.


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New letter from the director of public prosecutions discredits Met police testimony on phone hacking

05/04/2011, 10:30:15 AM

by Tom Watson

Parliament is peeling away at the phone hacking scandal and getting nearer to the facts. The comprehensive analysis submitted by the director of public prosecutions, published for the first time today, completely debunks the argument put forward by some officers of the metropolitan police that they could only prove that there were a tiny number of victims. For those who haven’t followed the byzantine twists and turns in the scandal, these are the key points to look for in the letter, the full text of which is hyperlinked at the bottom of this post.

What seems to emerge is that Starmer himself did not really focus on the question in 2009. I can understand this – after all he wasn’t involved in the previous investigation and would be reliant on others to draft responses. We have all been there, with multiple questions and very limited time. In any event, as he points out, his 2009 statement was based on a misunderstanding of the view of prosecuting counsel.

But the killer point for Starmer and against the Met is the indictment. It contained charges for which there was no evidence of prior interception. So this contemporaneous document demonstrates that the before/after question was considered irrelevant by counsel when drafting the indictment.

And not only by counsel. Had the police thought at the time that the only messages which counted were those which had not been listened to, they would certainly have queried the indictment as soon as they saw it. They would have pointed out that they had no evidence of prior interception in relation to a number of the charges.

Had they genuinely believed that prior interception was an essential element they had to prove, there is no way they would have neglected to warn prosecuting counsel. Equally, counsel would never have framed the indictment like that had they believed that only prior interception was an offence.

That indictment is clear contemporaneous evidence of the state of mind of the police and counsel at the time of the prosecution, namely that before/after did not matter.

The “only before” point has been dreamt up later by the Met on the basis of a bit of speculation by one of the lawyers during the investigation. It was never formal legal advice, indeed it was not advice at all, and to try to pretend it was, and that it “permeated” the entire investigation, is disingenuous.

John Yates has some big questions to answer today.

Here is the full letter from the DPP: Keir Starmer QC CPS 01 04 11.

Tom Watson is Labour MP for West Bromwich East.

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Leaked letter: Acting Deputy Commissioner John Yates writes to the Director of Public Prosecution

14/01/2011, 10:02:31 PM

Letter from acting deputy commissioner John Yates sent to the director of public prosecution Keir Starmer on Friday 14 January 2011.


I am grateful for the opportunity we had today to discuss the above matter.

We are both aware that there remain outstanding public, legal and political concerns. This is particularly so in relation to the various and recently reported high profile civil cases, as well as the inquiry to be undertaken by the Parliamentary Standards & Privileges Committee.

As a result, I consider it would be wise to invite you to further re-examine all the material collected in this matter. This would also enable you to advise me and assure yourself as to whether there is any existing material which could now form evidence in any future criminal prosecution relating to phone hacking.

The conclusions should be provided to you in the first instance for you to then advise me as to what, if any, further action may be required. We both understand that any future action will always be for the police to consider independently.

John Yates
Acting Deputy Commissioner

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