Keir Starmer Early Life
Keir Starmer, born 2 September 1962, was elected Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras on May 7th 2015 with 29062 votes, taking 52.9% of the vote. Prior to becoming a politician, Keir studied to be a barrister, and during his career he focused in particular on figthing the death penalty and torture around the world: in 2005 he persuaded the House of Lords that evidence obtained by torture should be inadmissible in court. Acting in several appeals to the Privy Council for defendants who had been sentenced to death in Caribbean countries, his legal submissions led to the abolition of the mandatory death penalty in those countries; he also worked alongside African lawyers to pursue the same purpose.
Keir was the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) from 2008 to 2013, and in 2013 lead an enquiry into changing the law to give further protection to victims in cases of rape and child abuse. On December of the same year he refused to deny the possibility of entering politics, and he was chosen to stood as candidate the following year.
Keir Starmer Biography and Profile
Keir Starmer was born on 2 September 1962, in Southwark, London, to his parents Rod – a toolmaker, and Josephine – a nurse. Sir Keir Starmer KCB QC MP is a British politician and barrister who has been Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras since 2015. Named after Labour’s first MP, Keir Hardie, he was one of four children and the first to pass the 11-plus, getting him a place at Reigate Grammar School.
From there, he went on to study law at the University of Leeds, graduating with a first in 1985, before moving onto post-graduate qualifications at St Edmund Hall, Oxford.
Who is Keir Starmer?
After graduating from Oxford in 1986, Keir Starmer became a barrister at Middle Temple and soon began focusing on human rights law. He worked on legal battles to get rid of the death penalty in the Caribbean and Africa, and served as human rights adviser to the Northern Ireland Policing Board. He was also part of the legal team in the so-called McLibel case, defending activists Helen Steel and David Morris over a factsheet they had written about fast food chain McDonald’s.
In 2008, Sir Keir was named the new head of the Crown Prosecution Service and Director of Public Prosecutions.
During this time, he dealt with a number of high-profile cases, most notably bringing the prosecution against two men accused of murdering 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence. Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty in early 2012.
Sir Keir stood down as DPP in 2013, and was awarded his knighthood in 2014 for services to law and criminal justice. In December that year, he was confirmed as Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Holborn and St Pancras, London, to replace the retiring Frank Dobson. Sir Keir won the seat in the 2015 election with a majority of more than 17,000.
He backed the now-Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to become leader of the Labour Party in the aftermath of the election, but it was Jeremy Corbyn who won the race.
Mr Corbyn appointed him as a shadow Home Office minister, but in 2016, Sir Keir quit the role, joining a number of frontbenchers resigning in protest.
But Sir Keir rejoined the shadow cabinet later that year – this time as shadow Brexit secretary – and arguments around leaving the EU have occupied his time in Parliament ever since.
He backed remaining in the EU, and focused his efforts on pushing for transparency from the government around the whole process.
He campaigned for Theresa May to make her Brexit plans public before she started negotiations – a fight he won – and set out Labour’s “six tests” for what a deal acceptable to his benches would look like.
However, he also said publicly that another referendum should remain an option, and that if it happened, he would campaign to stay in the EU.
Some believe he was the driving force behind Labour’s change in position ahead of the 2019 election, promising a second vote.
After the party suffered its worst election defeat since the 1930s, Sir Keir said he had accepted the UK would leave on 31 January.
Now, he says he will campaign for a close trade deal with the EU, with protections for workers’ rights, the environment, consumer standards and jobs.
Labour Leadership Contest
Sir Keir announced he was standing for the leadership in an article for the Sunday Mirror, saying Labour needed to “rebuild fast” to restore trust in the party.
“We cannot bury our head in the sand,” he wrote. “The millions of people who needed change at the last election still need change. The moral fight against poverty, inequality and injustice must continue.”
However, Sir Keir said Labour could not “lose sight of our values or retreat from the radicalism of the past few years”. He also released a video on Twitter, showing the number of unions he had defended as a lawyer, and securing the backing of Baroness Doreen Lawrence – the mother of Stephen. Sir Keir was the first candidate in the race to get enough nominations to make it onto the ballot paper, and the UK’s biggest union, Unison, has pledged its support to him.
Prosecutor and Adviser to the Crown Prosecution Service
Keir Starmer had made his name from his ground-breaking human rights work at the Chambers Doughty Street. While he had acted as a prosecutor and adviser to the Crown Prosecution Service in the past, he was best known for his work challenging Government decisions in the fields of human rights and criminal law.
In April 2008 Keir Starmer acted for the family of James Ashley – who was shot dead by police when naked and unarmed – in their successful case for the right to bring a civil misconduct action against Sussex Police.
Keir Starmer also had acted for two terror suspects in the landmark House of Lords case last year that led to the control order system for terror suspects being declared unlawful under human rights law.
In 2005, Keir Starmer led a team representing 14 human rights organisations in a critical Lords case that resulted in the ruling that intelligence extracted by torture was not admissible in any British court.
From 2003 to 2008 he was human rights adviser to the Policing Board in Northern Ireland during its restructuring. He worked closely there with the-then Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde.
Mr Starmer, has been a vocal critic of the Government in the past. In 2003, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, he wrote of the Government’s problem of credibility and coyness about the legal grounds for the war.
- Reigate Grammar School
- University of Leeds
- University of Oxford
- St Edmund Hall
A classical music lover and Arsenal fan, he was a regular football player.
Keir Starmer Family
Parents: Rod Starmer, Josephine Baker. Spouse: Victoria Starmer. Keir Starmer and Victoria Alexander two children.
Keir Starmer Biography and Profile