Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“I’ve always had the aspiration that we will have the best quality candidates as we go into this election.”

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour Leader, speaking to reporters

Facts

Facing scrutiny over an apparent “purge” of left wing Labour candidates before the 2024 general election—most prominently Jeremy Corbyn in Islington North, Diane Abbott in Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Lloyd Russell-Moyle in Brighton Kemptown, and Faiza Shaheen in Chingford and Woodford Green—Keir Starmer claimed such decisions were not factionally motivated, saying: “I’ve always had the aspiration that we will have the best quality candidates as we go into this election.”

Both Corbyn and Abbott had been readmitted to the Labour Party following disciplinary investigations but had not had the whip restored. Russell-Moyle was excluded following a last-minute undisclosed complaint he described as “vexatious,” while Shaheen was barred after allegedly liking posts on X that the party regarded as antisemitic, which was disputed.

However, a number of candidates were not barred despite having committed seemingly worse transgressions. 

  • Shadow Cabinet member Steve Reed, who had to apologise for calling a Jewish businessman a “puppet master” in 2020. 
  • Barry Sheerman had to apologise for posting a tweet saying there had been a “run on silver shekels” after two Jewish businessmen missed out on peerages in 2020. 
  • Toby Perkins had to apologise for having used “inappropriate” language suggesting Traveller communities are “inherently undesirable” in 2020. 
  • Charlotte Nichols had to apologise after she posted pictures featuring an anti-traveller leaflet when Starmer’s shadow minister for women and equalities in 2021. 
  • Neil Coyle had the Labour whip restored to him by Starmer in 2023 despite having been found to have used “abusive language with racial overtones” by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner. 
  • Rupa Huq had the Labour whip restored to her by Starmer in 2023 after apologising for calling Kwasi Kwarteng “superficially black.” 
  • Mike Amesbury shared what was described as an “antisemitic caricature” on social media, for which he apologised in 2019. 
  • Afzal Khan shared a Rothschilds conspiracy on social media, for which he apologised in 2019. 
  • Naz Shah shared social media posts she later described as antisemitic, and for which she apologised in 2016. 
  • Liam Byrne was suspended from the Commons having been found to have bullied a member of staff, for which he apologised in 2022.

Verdict

Untrue. Candidates have been held to different standards, with a blind eye turned to transgressions by Starmer’s allies.

We emailed Sir Keir Starmer’s office and Labour offering them the chance to respond. We received no response.

Published 28 Jun 2024
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