Webchat with Labour leadership contender Sir Keir Starmer MP on Monday February 3 at 1.30pm

(175 Posts)
AnnaCMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 31-Jan-20 13:55:09


We’re pleased to announce a webchat with Labour leadership contender Sir Keir Starmer MP on Monday 3 February at 1.30pm.

Keir Starmer is Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras (and is thus, importantly, the MP for MNHQ) having been first elected in 2015. He served as Director of Public Prosecutions from 2008-13, focusing on increasing prosecutions for violence against women and girls (see our previous webchat with him for our We Believe You campaign back in 2012), and seeking justice for Stephen Lawrence and his family. He was also involved in controversial cases (including the prosecution of the former LibDem MP Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce over their creative approach to speeding offences). Before that he was a barrister specialising in human rights law, working with the defendants in the ‘McLibel’ case and working on environmental protections, workers’ rights and challenging the death penalty.

Keir is named after the first Labour leader, Keir Hardie, and is regarded as the frontrunner in Labour’s leadership contest. He is currently Shadow Brexit Secretary.

Please do join the chat on Monday at 1.30pm or if you can’t make it, leave a question here in advance.

We've invited and are hoping to have all of the contenders on over the next few weeks.

As always, please remember our guidelines - one question per user, follow-ups only if there’s time and most questions have been answered, and please keep it civil. Also if one topic is dominating a thread, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. (We may suspend the accounts of anyone who continues after we've posted to ask people to stop, so please take note.) Rest assured we will ALWAYS let the guest know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

Many thanks,

OP’s posts: |
BullshitVivienne Fri 31-Jan-20 14:26:56

Hi Keir,

Considering Labour's last election campaign and manifesto, what would you keep from it and what do you think could have been done better or highlighted more to voters?

GeordieTerf Fri 31-Jan-20 14:53:52

Hello Keir,

Thanks for coming on smile

I’m a Northern, working-class, female. The Labour candidates in my area made it very clear that they didn’t want my vote. I tried to debate my views, but the people who knocked on my door refused. Several family members of mine were also discouraged from voting, but not for the same reasons as I was.

My question is: is Labour a hive mind? Does everyone in the party need to agree on everything? Or is there room for healthy, respectable, debate? smile

rogdmum Fri 31-Jan-20 15:11:49

Hi Keir

My 14 year old daughter recently announced that she identifies as a boy. She falls under the loose description of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) where adolescents who did not show any signs of gender identity issues as children, develop gender confusion as adolescents. Many of these adolescents are autistic or have suffered from trauma or have serious mental health issues.

Referrals to the Tavistock clinic have skyrocketed from around 100 a decade ago to 2600 last year. The Government agreed to carry out an investigation into the sudden rise, but it appears to have vanished into some hole somewhere.

What will you do to raise awareness of this issue and ensure a proper investigation is carried out?

StealthPolarBear Fri 31-Jan-20 15:20:14

Hello Keir
More than 200 of us are worried about gender issues and the conflict with the rights of women and children.
These are issues that affect the fundamental rights of half the population. They are across every conceivable layer of public policy, and affect us from cradle to grave. The issues are varied, ranging from men on women's sport, the impact of self ID on women's safety, the spousal exit clause and the emphasis on transition of children, including puberty blockers.
Are you concerned about any or all of these issues? How do you plan to ensure the rights of natal women and children?

ChickenonaMug Fri 31-Jan-20 16:17:18

As a previous Head of the Crown Prosecution Service do you think that the CPS has gone too far with it's recently published guidance which seeks to teach children as young as 11yrs that it may be a hate incident to reject other children?


Do you think that the guidance may frighten and worry children and perhaps coerce them to accept situations that make them unhappy?

As a child who was subjected to years of sexual abuse I would have found it very hard and quite distressing to have been compelled to share spaces such as changing rooms or toilets with males. I think that it would have been very frightening to have been told that I could be guilty of committing a hate incident for rejecting someone who is male or for not wanting to share a changing room with a male. This guidance appears to have no idea of safeguarding or consent or the equal rights of all children. Nor does it seem to serve the rights of children who are lesbian, gay, bi or identifying as transgender well.

Please look into it.

Newuser123123 Fri 31-Jan-20 16:21:11

Given that the existence of women's rights depends on the ability to differentiate between men and women, please can you tell me what a woman is?


Violetparis Fri 31-Jan-20 16:22:13

Hi Keir

Thank you for coming on here to answer questions.

What is your strategy to win back Labour voters in the North/Midlands who feel the party no longer represents them ?

NeurotrashWarrior Fri 31-Jan-20 16:29:08

Excellent point Chicken. And I'm very sorry for your experiences.

As a teacher I'm concerned about how on earth I am supposed teach children about consent and how to safeguard children effectively with such conflicting advice.

DeRigueurMortis Fri 31-Jan-20 16:29:15

Hi Keir,

If you were to be successfully voted in as Leader what steps would you take to address anti-semitism within the party?

Thank you,


bellinisurge Fri 31-Jan-20 16:41:21

Hi Sir Keir, what is the legal definition of a woman? Thanks.

AnnaCMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 31-Jan-20 16:44:11

Thanks for comments on sex/gender identity etc. That's enough on that topic now - we expect there to be lots of questions for Keir on all kinds of issues and don't want this to become a single issue webchat. Please bear in mind also that we'll be applying the same principle to follow-up questions when we're live on Monday too.

OP’s posts: |
Jux Fri 31-Jan-20 16:46:00

Hi Keir
What is your stance on HS2? I realise by the time you get into power, should that ever happen, the thing will have been done and maybe even dusted; I would like to know what your party will do to improve public transport for those of us not helped by HS2 - those in the south west in particular. One or two buses a day is not good enough. One or two buses a day which don't connect with the infrequent trains is not good enough.

ScrimshawTheSecond Fri 31-Jan-20 17:02:13

Hi Keir,

How would you protect our civil liberties and freedom of speech, given that both seem to be under increasing threat from both the left and the right these days?

Thank you.

ThinEndoftheWedge Fri 31-Jan-20 17:11:16

Hi Keir, how will you ensure that openness of debate and respect for difference of opinion is returned to the Labour Party. Thanks!

ScrimshawTheSecond Fri 31-Jan-20 17:19:35


I found the Labour manifesto quite sound - sensible and measured.

But when campaigning, I feel Labour lack humility, are too often reactive and defensive, and don't listen.

What will you do to move the party beyond petty tribalism? How will you encourage mature, respectful dialogue within the party and with the wider electorate?

starlingsintheslipstream Fri 31-Jan-20 17:20:04

How will MNHQ know a topic is of concern to multiple users if we can't ask the questions? It's a puzzle really 🤷‍♀️

NatyoCheese Fri 31-Jan-20 17:23:05

Hi Keir,

Labour Party member here! As a parent who nearly lost a child recently due to an understaffed and overworked NHS, do you think the NHS is broken to the point of danger? Do you really think you’ll be able to ‘save the NHS’ or do you think people being misled into believing it can still be ‘saved’?
Thank you.

DeRigueurMortis Fri 31-Jan-20 17:33:01

Hi Keir,

Another question from myself.

How would you respond to voters (including myself) who broadly agreed with much of the Labour Party's manifesto but did not believe many of the promises could be delivered whilst whilst being fiscally prudent?

Fundamentally, the issue being that party was writing cheques it couldn't cash and didn't fully understand how these promises could be funded, thus creating a lack of overall confidence in the manifesto (reference to the interview with Jeremy Corbyn and Andrew Neil, specifically with regard to confining tax increases to higher incomes and it being demonstrated that the sums just didn't add up).

In summary, do you think the party "over promised" on its policies and which (if any) do you believe would need to be re-prioritised/dropped to re-gain voter confidence regarding Labour's ability to run the economy with appropriate fiscal prudence?

Thank you,


SophiaLarsen Fri 31-Jan-20 17:39:33

Hello Keir,

What will you do to tackle the falling number of rape prosecutions? I realise it's a complex issue, but imagine with your CPS experience you are in a good position to understand what needs to be done to increase public confidence that a reported rape will be investigated thoroughly and sympathetically and the victim provided with full support even if the case is not pursued by the CPS?

Many thanks smile

DeRigueurMortis Fri 31-Jan-20 18:03:42

To supplement Sophia's question above (I hope you don't mind Sophia), could you give your view on the increasing use of "sex games gone wrong" being successfully used as a defence for the sexual violence/assault/rape and even murder of women .

TresDesolee Fri 31-Jan-20 18:06:01

Hello Keir, thank you for coming on. It’s 5 hours to Brexit as I type this and I feel so overwhelmingly sad about it. And I have to say I do blame Labour, quite a lot - from Corbyn’s risible ‘campaigning’ during the referendum to the unholy mess over what your actual policy was between 2016 and 2019. But most of all, for being an opposition so incompetent, anti-Semitic, unpatriotic and toxic to the electorate that we could not countenance voting you into power.

Do you think Labour owes Remain voters an apology? It was a pretty bad time to become quite so unelectable, wasn’t it?

DeRigueurMortis Fri 31-Jan-20 18:10:15

Say what you mean Tres and don't sugar coat it wink

TresDesolee Fri 31-Jan-20 18:16:13

grin sorry Keir, I mean, you were one of the good guys (and gals) - but still...

bellinisurge Fri 31-Jan-20 18:27:06

I second @TresDesolee 's question.

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