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Starmer accused of using child refugees to promote his leadership campaign

LABOUR leadership hopeful Sir Keir Starmer was accused today of using the refugee crisis to try to score political points. 

Mr Starmer has promoted an open letter from his own website, addressed to the Prime Minister, for the protection of child refugees.

Signatories are asked whether they agree to receive updates about “Keir’s campaign.”

Multiple Twitter users wrote that they were outraged, calling on him to “do better.”

Sara Callaway of Women of Colour / Global Women Strike told the Star that although the call was welcome, Mr Starmer’s track record was “very mixed and very worrying.”

She pointed out that he had been among the many MPs who abstained from voting against the 2014 Immigration Asylum Act.

Ms Callaway said: “This Act has caused huge suffering to the Windrush generation and it is the same legislation which will threaten EU nationals, as it increases the power of enforcement officers. 

“In 2016, he said on the Andrew Marr Show that there were ‘too many’ immigrants.

“This is very dangerous and very different from Jeremy Corbyn, who has been welcoming. 

“We are worried that Starmer says whatever is useful for him.”

Ms Callaway also said his track record during his time as head of the Crown Prosecution Service was concerning, in particular his refusal to prosecute the killer of Brazilian plumber Jean Charles de Menezes, who was mistakenly shot by police during a botched anti-terrorism operation.

She added: “Corbyn has an undisputable track record for his honesty, anti-racism, defence of women and workers’ rights and opposition to war, and leaders like that are hard to find and replace.”

Matt Pound, the leader of anti-Corbyn group Labour First, has also joined the Starmer campaign, according to the Sunday Times.

Mr Starmer has received 63 nominations from MPs and MEPs, far more than the 22 required for candidates to move on from the first round of the leadership contest.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey has gained 26 nominations, putting her in second place, while Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips are joint third with 22 nominations each. 

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has attracted only seven supporters so far, while shadow treasury minister Clive Lewis has four.

Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner said on Thursday evening that he would not join the contest for the top job, hours after it was announced that he was “considering” a bid.

Mr Lewis called for a referendum on the future of the royal family today during a campaign event in Brixton, south London.

He raised the idea as part of a package of proposals for constitutional reform that also included the introduction of proportional representation in general elections.

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