Black Lives Matter say ‘cop in expensive suit’ Keir Starmer has ‘no right to tell us’ not to demand police are abolished
KEIR Starmer was dubbed “a cop in an expensive suit” by Black Lives Matter after he dismissed their demands that the police be abolished.
The Labour leader came under fire from BLM on Monday when he distanced himself from the group and said their proposal was “just nonsense”.
A BLM spokesperson hit back, saying the Labour leader was just ‘a cop in an expensive suit’Sir Keir told BBC Breakfast that his support for the police was “very, very strong” as he spoke about his time as head of the Crown Prosecution Service.
One of BLM’s biggest demands is that police forces are disbanded and their funds redirected into youth and mental health services.
A Gofundme page run by the group, which has so far raised more than £1 million, says some of the money will be spent on “strategies for the abolition of police.”
Speaking to the Beeb’s Dan Walker, the Labour leader said: “Nobody should be saying anything about defunding the police. I would have no truck with that.
“I was director of public prosecutions for five years, I worked with police forces across England and Wales, brining thousands of people to court, so my support for the police is very, very strong and evidenced in the joint actions I’ve done with the police.”
He continued: “There’s a broader issue here, the Black Lives Matter movement, or moment, internationally is about reflecting something completely different, it’s reflecting on what happened dreadfully in America just a few weeks ago and acknowledging that as a moment across the world.
“It’s a shame it’s getting tangled up with these organisational issues with the organisation Black Lives Matter. I don’t have any truck with what the organisation is saying about defunding the police or anything else, that’s just nonsense.”
When we say ‘Defund the police’ we mean ‘Invest in programmes that actually keep us safe like youth services, mental health and social care, education, jobs and housing. Key services to support the most vulnerable before they come into contact with the criminal justice system’. https://t.co/7wJhSzywZR
— #BlackLivesMatterUK (@ukblm) June 29, 2020
BLM’s official Twitter account hit back on Monday evening, saying that Sir Keir could not “tell us what our demands should be”.
A spokesperson said: “When we say ‘Defund the police’ we mean ‘Invest in programmes that actually keep us safe like youth services, mental health and social care, education, jobs and housing. Key services to support the most vulnerable before they come into contact with the criminal justice system’.
“As a public prosecutor, Sir Keir Starmer was a cop in an expensive suit. While black people are now incarcerated at the same rate as African Americans, the prison population in Britain has almost doubled since the 1980s. This has affected all working class people in Britain.”
We can no longer allow governments from any party to police or imprison away social problems. Neither can we allow former Prosecutors to tell us what our demands should be.
Black Lives Matter spokesperson
They continued: “The expansion of police and prison power has not made our communities safer.
“We can no longer allow governments from any party to police or imprison away social problems. Neither can we allow former Prosecutors to tell us what our demands should be.”
One of Sir Keir’s own MPs, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, also criticised his remarks.
The Labour Member for Streatham wrote on Twitter: “#BlackLivesMatter isn’t just a moment, it’s a movement.”
She added: “It’s clear that if we want to see real change, it’s going to take sustained pressure from below.”
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It comes days after the Labour leader sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey from the front bench for sharing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on social media.
The former shadow education secretary shared an article which claimed the tactic used by US police to kill George Floyd was “taught by the Israeli army”.
He told BBC Breakfast on Monday that he was “absolutely clear in my mind that it was the right thing to do.”