PMQs just exposed Starmer’s complete lack of principles

Keir Starmer at PMQs on 7 October
Support us and go ad-free

It’s fair enough if you’ve given up watching Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) recently. Because the previous few weeks have been dire to say the least. But a question from Keir Starmer to Boris Johnson over the 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants cast a light on another big story. And it shows the Labour leader is devoid of principles.

PMQs: Starmer rebelling?

As BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg tweeted, Starmer might be about to ‘rebel’ against Johnson:

 

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

She was not the only one who spotted it:

So, it seems Starmer could tell his MPs to vote against the 10pm rule. But this is particularly damning given the bills he’s asked MPs to abstain on. What a shame he couldn’t do the same over, say – the potential torture and murder of people by UK government actors?

A ‘covert’ bill

The covert human intelligence sources (CHIS) bill has hit the news this week. LabourList said it:

aims to give legal protection for a previously secret power – ‘the third direction’ – allowing MI5, police forces and other specified public bodies to authorise agents and informants to commit criminal offences.

Amnesty UK has warned that ‘this bill could end up providing informers and agents with a licence to kill’ and stressed that it ‘does not explicitly prohibit MI5 and other agencies from authorising crimes like torture and killing’.

Essentially, as the Guardian reported, the:

bill confirm[s] MI5’s right to let informants commit crimes in pursuit of intelligence material.

Or, as the Morning Star summed up:

Even the equivalent legislation in the United States rules out torture and murder, yet nothing is ruled out in this Bill. We are assured only that law-breaking will be limited to specific, internally approved cases.

Abstaining: the centrist way

On Monday 5 October, there was a vote on the bill in parliament. Starmer, though, had told his MP’s to abstain. But 20 MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn, voted against the bill. And Starmer’s decision caused outrage:

But Labour abstaining on massive issues is nothing new. Starmer previously sacked Nadia Whittome from the front bench for not abstaining (and voting against) another bill. Centrist leaders have a track record of forcing MPs to abstain. Not least during repeated votes on welfare issues.

The CHIS bill has still got more stages to pass through. The Canary will be publishing more analysis on the implications of the bill. But Starmer’s whipping on it sums up his leadership entirely: devoid of principle and pandering to right-wing rhetoric.

Featured image via BBC iPlayer – screengrab

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. The only reason I would now vote Labour is if I lived in Islington or Hackney (And a few other places with decent non-centrist candidates). There is no way in hell I can square voting for Starmer with my conscience.

      McDonnell and Corbyn should not have quit.

      But they did. :'(

    2. I don’t quite understand this article’s angle, given thecanary.co is (I think) independent and anti-plutocracy.

      In a general election, if one was choosing between centre-left Starmer and socialist-left Corbyn it’d be a genuine choice between two politicians with different ideologies but same aim i.e. to make a better country for all the people who live in it.

      But an election with either Starmer or Corbyn versus deregulate-and-grift Boris Johnson is not a genuine real-world choice. Boris isn’t aiming to make a better country for all the people who live in it. His focus is on enriching his inner circle, while giving away as little as possible to everyone else.

      And this is where I don’t quite understand thecanary.co. By sniping at Starmer, it’s not helping the socialist-left and it undermines the chance of a united opposition necessary to wrest power from the Tories. It plays into the hands of the Boris Johnson cabal. Plutocracy thrives on divide-and-rule.

      I guess you could say “every opportunity to state one’s principles unadulterated matters more than winning elections; if the election can only be won by compromising them”. Is that the reasoning? I’d like to understand, if possible.

      1. I think it comes from the wonderful political freedom that we have for not being American. You see, those poor saps only HAVE two choices. “Lesser evilism” ensures they never have to count above two. Stupidity and apathy are rampant.

        However, here in the UK, we have more than two parties. There is Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein, Greens, SNP, NI Religious Dinosaurs, hell even the Liberal Party.

        Why exactly should we all “Line up behind The Dear Leader” – especially when he is neither dear (except in cost to principles), nor leads in the direction we want to go?

        You see the problem here?

        And now perhaps you understand.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.