Keir has a long, proud history of being an activist lawyer.
He defended the "McLibel Two" – Helen Steel and David Morris – when they were sued by McDonalds for their environmental activism. He served as a legal observer during the Wapping Dispute on behalf of the striking print workers, and in 1988 he was a legal volunteer for trade unionists involved in the P&O Seafarers strike in Dover.
In the 1990s, Keir took on several legal fights to defend the powerless against the powerful. He would often represent peace activist Lindis Percy (a founding member of the ‘Campaign for accountability of American bases’) in numerous cases: Greenham, Fylingdales and Menwith Hill.
He gave free legal advice to the Trafalgar Square Defendants Campaign (often referred to as the Poll Tax riots), and in 1992 he represented the National Union of Mineworkers when the Conservative Government tried to close pits across the UK. Later that year he also represented Twyford Down environmentalist protestors as they campaigned against the widening of the M3.
In 1995 he led a legal team to challenge the sinking of the Brent Spar oil rig and in 1998 he began a campaign against the death penalty in the Caribbean & Africa that saw challenges brought over next decade in Jamaica, Trinidad, St Vincent, St Lucia, Belize, Barbados, Uganda, Malawi and Kenya.
In 1999 he began work on a series of international legal challenges with the Kurdish Human Rights Project, in 2002 he acted on the legal team for MI5 whistle-blower, David Shayler, and in 2003 he published his legal opinion in the Guardian claiming that the Iraq War would be unlawful.
From 2003-2008 he was a legal advisor to the Northern Ireland Policing Board as they oversaw the implementation of parts of the Good Friday Agreement.
In 2005 he represented anti-globalisation protesters corralled by police in ‘May Day Riots’ where police used the ‘kettling’ tactic for the fist time and he acted with Amnesty International challenging the admissibility of torture evidence in court proceedings post-9/11.
In 2008 the Attorney General of the Labour Government named Keir Starmer as the Director of Public Prosecutions for the Crown Prosecution Services, making him head of a public body with thousands of employees and responsibility for carrying out prosecutions on behalf of the British people.
During his time in the role, Keir began the prosecution of MPs who cheated on their expenses, he issued new guidelines for prosecuting cases of violence against woman & girls, and brought about the successful prosecution of two of the men who carried out the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence.
Keir Starmer has dedicated his entire life to defending those who had no one else on their side. He has constantly chosen the right path over the easy one. He chose to focus his entire career on defending human rights. All of this shows that he has the right moral compass to be the next Leader of the Labour Party.
Keir's ten pledges to the Party are as follows:
Increase income tax for the top 5% of earners, reverse the Tories’ cuts in corporation tax and clamp down on tax avoidance, particularly of large corporations. No stepping back from our core principles.
Abolish Universal Credit and end the Tories’ cruel sanctions regime. Set a national goal for wellbeing to make health as important as GDP; Invest in services that help shift to a preventative approach. Stand up for universal services and defend our NHS. Support the abolition of tuition fees and invest in lifelong learning.
Put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything we do. There is no issue more important to our future than the climate emergency. A Clean Air Act to tackle pollution locally. Demand international action on climate rights.
Promote peace and human rights
No more illegal wars. Introduce a Prevention of Military Intervention Act and put human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Review all UK arms sales and make us a force for international peace and justice.
Public services should be in public hands, not making profits for shareholders. Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water; end outsourcing in our NHS, local government and justice system.
Defend migrants' rights
Full voting rights for EU nationals. Defend free movement as we leave the EU. An immigration system based on compassion and dignity. End indefinite detention and call for the closure of centres such as Yarl’s Wood.
Strengthen workers' rights and trade unions
Work shoulder to shoulder with trade unions to stand up for working people, tackle insecure work and low pay. Repeal the Trade Union Act. Oppose Tory attacks on the right to take industrial action and the weakening of workplace rights.
Radical devolution of power, wealth and opportunity
Push power, wealth and opportunity away from Whitehall. A federal system to devolve powers – including through regional investment banks and control over regional industrial strategy. Abolish the House of Lords – replace it with an elected chamber of regions and nations.
Pull down obstacles that limit opportunities and talent. We are the party of the Equal Pay Act, Sure Start, BAME representation and the abolition of Section 28 – we must build on that for a new decade.
Effective opposition to the Tories
Forensic, effective opposition to the Tories in Parliament – linked up to our mass membership and a professional election operation. Never lose sight of the votes ‘lent’ to the Tories in 2019. Unite our party, promote pluralism and improve our culture. Robust action to eradicate the scourge of antisemitism. Maintain our collective links with the unions.