2005 footage obtained by the Guido Fawkes website reveals how Keir Starmer wanted to abolish the monarchy, as the party plans to win back Red Wall voters by rebranding itself as a patriotic force and embracing the flag.
The footage comes from an interview following the famous McLibel case, during which Starmer provided pro bono assistance to environmental activists campaigning against the fast food giant.
In it he says, with a smirk: “I also got made a Queen’s Counsel, which is odd since I often used to propose the abolition of the monarchy”.
The explosive leak will undermine Labour plans to clothe themselves in the garb of patriotism following the disastrous drubbing taken by Jeremy Corbyn in 2019. The former left-wing Labour leader caused outrage shortly after taking on his role in 2015 when he refused to sing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain service.
Corbyn himself had an openly republican streak, backing a Tony Benn bill calling for a Commonwealth of Britain that would abolish the institution and replace it with an elected President.
But even loony left-winger Corbyn backed away from his stance, and when quizzed about his views in the 2015 leadership race said “it’s not a battle that I am fighting”.
Starmer himself has said that “Labour should not shy away from patriotism”, but many will now question how sincerely Starmer holds his apparently patriotic beliefs if he “often used to propose the abolition of the monarchy”, and he’ll now have to face the same questions that Corbyn did.
Commenting on the footage on Twitter, the Fawkes blog said: “Looks like Starmer’s not such a loyal leader of “Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition”, after all…”
The plans for Labour to take a patriotic turn had already caused controversy within the party. MP Clive Lewis warned that “the Tory party has absorbed Ukip and now Labour appears to be absorbing the language and symbols of the Tory party.”
A 2018 YouGov poll revealed how 31% of Labour voters snobbishly looked down on people who flew the English flag, and more than a quarter felt the same way about those who fly the Union flag.