Backlash against Sir Keir Starmer grows over vile advert

PM’s plans to deal with grooming gangs exploiting children

Keir Starmer has been blasted for an “appalling” Labour advert which accuses Rishi Sunak of wanting child sex attackers to avoid jail. A number of Labour MPs, Tories, actors, comedians, and TV personalities condemned the social media advert as a “dog whistle”, “shameful” and “vile”.

Shadow cabinet minister Lucy Powell refused to endorse the campaign attack which was released on Twitter late on Thursday night.

While admitting it would not be “to everyone’s taste”, she yesterday (FRI) said: “This is the cut and thrust nature of politics.”

But Labour MP John McDonnell said: “This is not the sort of politics a Labour Party, confident of its own values and preparing to govern, should be engaged in.

“I say to the people who have taken the decision to publish this ad, please withdraw it. We, the Labour Party, are better than this.”

The ad shows Rishi Sunak beaming, alongside the words: “Do you think adults convicted of sexually assaulting children should go to prison? Rishi Sunak doesn’t.”

The advert cites that “under the Tories”, 4,500 adults convicted of sexually assaulting children under the age of 16 had served no prison time.

The statistic is based on data going back to 2010, before Mr Sunak was an MP and when Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was serving as Director of Public Prosecutions.

Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson called it “vile and embarrassing” while Conservative MP Robert Largan branded the post “really shameful stuff”.

Ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor said: “This is grotesque and embarrassing.”

Labour continued its approach yesterday (FRI) afternoon by posting a similar advert relating to firearms offences.

The party’s second advert claimed Mr Sunak did not believe adults convicted of possessing a firearm with intent to harm should go to prison, pointing out 937 adults convicted of the offence had been spared jail since 2010.

When Ms Powell was asked about the first ad, she said: “We do have serious criminals now in this country almost routinely getting more lenient custodial sentences than they would otherwise do because the system is creaking at the knees.”

She said it was not down to sentencing guidelines but was due to “capacity in the system to actually implement those guidelines” with a “huge backlog” in court cases and pressure on prison places.

Asked if the Twitter post should be removed, she said: “I don’t think it should be deleted.”

There are heightened efforts by Labour and the Tories to pitch themselves as the party of law and order in the run-up to local elections.

Both parties have put crime-fighting plans at the heart of their campaigns to snap up votes on May 4.

Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi also condemned Labour’s first advert while hitting out at her own party for triggering an “appalling fight into the gutter”.

She said: “Dog whistle met by dog whistle.

“Disgraceful comments by Braverman over the weekend has triggered an appalling fight into the gutter.

“At what point are we going to talk about the victims? Where is the protection for the half million kids sexually exploited in our country every year.”

Senior Tory MP Tobias Ellwood branded the first post “appalling”, adding: “We should be better than this. I’ve called it out on my own side for stooping low and do so again now.”

Compassion in Politics, a campaign group working to “clean up” public debate in Britain, called on Sir Keir to withdraw the ad and apologise.

The group’s co-director Jennifer Nadel said: “This kind of political discourse poisons the water that we all must drink from. It drives up hate and drags down standards.

“Sir Keir Starmer has rightly identified that the public want to see politicians act with respect, dignity, and decency. He can start by pulling this ad from circulation and issuing an immediate apology.”

A Tory source said: “Labour HQ have highlighted Sir Keir’s appalling record at keeping children safe.

“During Sir Keir’s controversial tenure as director of public prosecutions, less than 30% of child pornographers saw the inside of a prison cell.

“It’s no wonder only 12 percent of his staff thought he was any good and criminals want a Labour government.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman last week claimed Labour-run areas failed to stop child grooming gangs over fears they would be called “racist”.

Mr Sunak has announced a crackdown on grooming gangs to protect young women and girls from sexual abuse, with measures including a new police taskforce of specialist officers and the collection of ethnicity data.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to halve levels of violence against women and girls as he met with charities supporting victims in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, earlier on Thursday.

Supporters of Sir Keir Starmer like to present him as a man of integrity.

It has always been a hollow boast, given his record of inconsistency and duplicity.

But the peevish, slippery lawyer has really plumbed new depths with this social media attack on Rishi Sunak, which outrageously claims that the Prime Minister opposes the imprisonment of child abusers.

Dishonest, hypocritical and nasty, the advert represents a new low point in British public life.

Starmer likes to talk grandly about the importance of “civility in politics”, but he has descended right into the gutter with this disgraceful slur.

The disgust at this vile piece of fraudulent propaganda extends across all shades of opinion at Westminster.

Even voices on the left, normally so keen to denounce the Tories, have joined the chorus of disapproval.

“We are better than this,” says the former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell interviewed on the BBC yesterday. Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell struggled to defend the advert, euphemistically saying that it is “not to everyone’s taste”.

In truth, this attack is indefensible because its message is an outright fabrication.

The portrayal of Sunak as a kind of collaborator with paedophiles and predators is so ridiculous that it could have only been dreamt up in the twisted minds of partisans who have lost all grip on reality and decency.

What makes Starmer’s assault even more reprehensible is that his party is so weak on this issue. If any political group has been soft on child abuse over recent decades, it is Labour, not the current Tory Government.

Across the North and the Midlands, a string of Labour councils failed to take action against vicious British Pakistani gangs who exploited vulnerable working-class girls, from both a paralysing fear about accusations of racism and a determination to uphold the ideological narrative of multi-cultural success.

Similarly, Labour town halls in the inner-city have often been notorious for their failure to protect children in their care, as epitomised by appalling scandals in Islington, Haringey, and Leicester.

Starmer himself is on very thin ice when it comes to criticising others for their responsibilities. After all, he was head of the Crown Prosecution Service when the decision was taken in 2009 not to prosecute Jimmy Savile.

Although he was not directly involved with this case, he set the tone and direction for his organisation.

In addition, Sir Keir was actually a member of the Sentencing Council which drew up the guidelines for the punishment of convicted abusers, whereas Sunak has never had any judicial role like this.

In their anti-Sunak advert, Labour now assert that they are “the party of law and order”, yet Labour activists and MPs have vigorously opposed the deportation of foreign criminals from Britain and thwarted attempts to crack down on people trafficking gangs.

The double standards run on an even deeper level. Starmer and his left-wing followers like to pose as the champions of social justice, in contrast to the supposedly cruel, uncaring Tories. But paradoxically this self-righteous attitude, far from promoting compassion, actually leads many of them to become more spiteful, abusive and vindictive.

Moral superiority undermines respect for humanity. So the party’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner is happy to describe the Tories as “scum”, while Starmer, so quick to proclaim the virtue of political tolerance, proudly declares that he “loathes” Boris Johnson.

Gordon Brown – who also made so much of his so-called “moral compass” – infamously described Rochdale voter Gillian Duffy as “just a bigoted woman” because she dared to express concern over immigration.

It is telling that, for Labour’s shrieks about “Tory sleaze”, every single MP who went to prison over the expenses scandal came from the Labour benches. Nor were Jeremy Corbyn’s links to anti-semitism an aberration.

Once the authentic voice of the working-class, Labour are now gripped by toxic identity politics, woke hysteria, the cult of victimhood and contempt for our heritage, as illustrated by the lurid recent verbal assaults on the Home Secretary Suella Braverman for trying to restore our borders.

In the same vein, Labour’s surrender to transgender extremism is a menace to women’s rights, mental health, biological science and childhood innocence.

Yet they have the nerve to condemn the Prime Minister as a facilitator of abuse.

With this repugnant advert, the party’s dark soul has been exposed – and it is an ugly sight.

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