The Scottish Mail on Sunday


- By Harry Cole and James Heale

LABOUR leadership frontrunne­r Sir Keir Starmer was accused last night of trying to fool the party that he is a moderate despite having a ‘posh Trot’ background.

The accusation came as a Mail on Sunday investigat­ion revealed that the former human rights barrister was raised in an affluent stockbroke­r-belt town, despite his claims of a more humble upbringing.

His supporters’ insistence that he is an anti Corbyn moderate are dented by our investigat­ion, which reveals shockingly radical views that belie his comfortabl­e past.

We can reveal that Sir Keir:

Questioned the need for the police in an article in a ‘Trotskyist’ magazine he edited;

Was hugely critical of police stop-and-search powers now seen as vital to cut the wave of knife crime;

Argued for prisoners to be given the vote; Called for the Monarchy to be abolished. The revelation­s will shock many MPs who see the former Director of Public Prosecutio­ns as the sensible candidate to lead Labour in contrast to so-called ‘Corbyn continuity’ rival Rebecca Long Bailey. She was yesterday backed by arch-Corbyn supporters Momentum.

One senior Labour MP said last night: ‘Are we going to make the mistake of picking someone who’s only fooling us that he’s a moderate but in fact is a fully fledged posh Trot?’

Allies of Sir Keir, who formally launched his campaign yesterday, denied any suggestion he was pretending to be something he was not. His spokesman insisted he was a ‘proud socialist’ who was standing for the leadership ‘because of his determinat­ion to deliver a rad

‘Police stop and searches are street performanc­es’

ical Labour Government at the next Election’.

But Sir Keir once served on the editorial board of Socialist Alternativ­es – described by Corbyn supporter Paul Mason as ‘a Trotskyist front magazine’.

He wrote articles bitterly attacking the police for their conduct during the 1986 Wapping industrial dispute between disgruntle­d print workers and Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper company.

Sir Keir claimed that clashes between union members and the police led ‘to the question of the role the police should play, if any, in civil society’.

Once, referring to himself in the third person, he told the BBC that ‘Keir Starmer lives in North London, but Keir Starmer grew up in a town’. But the Shadow Brexit Secretary’s town was Oxted, Surrey – once named the 20th richest in Britain – and his house had that middle-class staple, an Aga. The property also backed on to beautiful countrysid­e.

And while Sir Keir has made freLawyers, quent reference to his tool maker father, dad Rodney once boasted that he ran his own factory.

Reflecting on his son’s knighthood in 2014, Rodney Starmer wrote in Oxted’s theatre newsletter that his son had spent six months before university working ‘in my factory operating a production machine’.

Sir Keir served as Secretary of the Haldane Society of Socialist whose members included Phil Shiner, struck off the roll of solicitors in 2017 over misconduct relating to false abuse claims against British troops.

Sir Keir also contribute­d a chapter to one of Shiner’s books and wrote in the society’s magazine that ‘only when a concept of socialist law is developed will socialist lawyers join their liberal colleagues in the unfolding theoretica­l debates of the 1990s’.

In a book called Justice In Error, Sir Keir and co-author Clive Walker dismissed police stop and searches as ‘street performanc­es’. And in The Three Pillars Of Liberty in 1996, Sir Keir and his co-authors wrote: ‘The denial of voting rights to most convicted prisoners… comes close to violating... human rights standards.’ Sir Keir became a Queen’s Counsel in 2002, saying in an interview that the decision was ‘odd’ as ‘I often used to propose the abolition of the Monarchy’.

Tory MP David Morris said last night: ‘Far from picking a latterday Neil Kinnock to bring them back to sanity, it sounds like Labour is about to plump for just a cleverer version of Corbyn.’

 ??  ?? PROUD SOCIALIST: Sir Keir Starmer was brought up in Oxted, above, once named the 20th wealthiest town in Britain, in a house with an Aga
PROUD SOCIALIST: Sir Keir Starmer was brought up in Oxted, above, once named the 20th wealthiest town in Britain, in a house with an Aga

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