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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Explained: Who is Keir Starmer, UK Labour Party’s new leader?

Keir Starmer has been the MP for Holborn and St Pancras since 2015. A former barrister, Starmer was called to the Bar in 1987 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 6, 2020 11:59:58 am
Keir Starmer, Who is Keir starmer, keir starmer labour party leader, express explained, indian express Starmer has been the MP for Holborn and St Pancras since 2015. (Photo: REUTERS)

On Saturday, Keir Starmer was named as the new leader of the UK’s Labour Party during the 2020 Labour Leadership elections. Starmer, who is staunchly opposed to Brexit will succeed Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the opposition. He joined the leadership race for the elections on January 4. The other contenders for the position were Rebecca-Long Bailey and Lisa Nandy.

After winning, Starmer posted on Twitter, “It’s the honour and privilege of my life to be elected as Leader of the Labour Party. I will lead this great party into a new era, with confidence and hope, so that when the time comes, we can serve our country again – in government.”

Who is Keir Starmer?

Starmer has been the MP for Holborn and St Pancras since 2015. A former barrister, Starmer was called to the Bar in 1987 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002. In 1990 he co-founded Doughty Street Chambers where his main areas of practice were human rights, international law, judicial review and criminal law. As an “activist lawyer” he defended Helen Steel and David Morris when they were sued by McDonalds for their environmental activism. In 1992 he represented the National Union of Mineworkers when the Conservative Government tried to close pits across the UK.

From 2003-2008, he was the human rights adviser to the Policing Board in Northern Ireland, where he worked to make sure that the Police Service of Northern Ireland was fully complying with its obligations under the Human Right Act 1998.

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According to St Edmund Hall’s website, on October 6, 2016, Starmer was appointed by former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. While in this role, he questioned the government’s “destination” for Britain outside the European Union.

His policy pledges to the Labour Party include increasing income tax for the top five per cent of the earners, equality, abolishing universal credit, setting a national goal for wellbeing, giving importance to the Green New Deal, defending migrants’ rights, strengthening workers’ rights and trade unions and being an effective opposition to the Tories in Parliament among others.

According to the Financial Times, a Starmer led opposition may not mean much for Brexit since prime minister Boris Johnson’s government has enough seats in the House of Commons to counter any roadblocks to finalising trade deals with the European Union (EU).

In 2014, Starmer was awarded a knighthood for his “services to law and criminal justice”.

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