Sir Keir Starmer has ‘no skeletons’ waiting to come out this general election

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he has “no skeletons in the closet” from his time in charge of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ahead of the general election.

Sir Keir told ITV that while mistakes were made when he was in charge of the CPS, there is no “smoking gun” for the Tories to use against him as the two major UK parties prepare to embark on the campaign trail.

The Conservative Party has previously used Sir Keir’s time as CPS director, which was from 2008 to 2013, against him.

In April 2023, Rishi Sunak criticised Sir Keir during a Commons debate, dubbing him “Sir Softie”.

The Prime Minister also told his fellow MPs at the time that Sir Keir was “soft on crime, soft on criminals”.

Sir Keir
Sir Keir Starmer during his time as director of public prosecutions (Lewis Whyld/PA)

But, despite previous attempts to use his time as director of public prosecutions against him, Sir Keir said he is not concerned about his past coming back to haunt him.

“If they want to attack me for decisions when I was director of public prosecutions, we had 7,000 staff, we made nearly a million decisions a year,” he said in an interview for ITV programme Keir Starmer: Up Close – Tonight, airing Thursday on ITV.

He added: “Will there be mistakes there? Of course there will, but there’ll be no smoking gun, no skeletons in the closet.”

Sir Keir also told the programme that he never thought former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would win the 2019 general election, despite serving in his shadow cabinet.

“I didn’t think the Labour Party was in a position to win the last election,” he said.

“I didn’t obviously vote for Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 or 2016. On the contrary, I resigned.”

Sir Keir said he felt a “responsibility” to stay as shadow Brexit secretary in Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet.

He said: “I thought that once that 2016 Brexit referendum had happened, I took the view that what then followed in the next few years was going to be felt for generations. And that I thought it was my responsibility to play a full part in that.”

Starmer and Corbyn
Sir Keir Starmer and former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (PA)

Sir Keir also spoke of what he intends to do if he does become the next prime minister.

He told ITV that if Labour win the election, he does not want to grow the economy by taking more money from the super-rich and redistributing it to the poorest.

“That isn’t how I want to grow the economy,” he said.

“Of course, I believe in redistribution, but I don’t think redistribution is the sort of one word answer for millions of people across the country.”

Despite his recent praise of former Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher, he also told ITV he believes she tore communities apart.

“What she did was a clarity of mission and purpose. But actually what she did was very destructive,” he said.

The Labour leader previously wrote in a Sunday Telegraph opinion piece that Mrs Thatcher sought to “drag Britain out of its stupor by setting loose our natural entrepreneurialism”.

Responding to Sir Keir’s comments about Mr Corbyn, Tory chairman Richard Holden said: “It’s extraordinary that Sir Keir campaigned twice to put Jeremy Corbyn, a man who called terrorist groups ‘friends’, into 10 Downing Street and even said he would make ‘a great Prime Minister’ just so he could force a second Brexit referendum on Britain.

“Sir Keir Starmer’s record of saying one thing but doing another explains why he can’t say how he would change Britain because he hasn’t got a plan. That’s why he would take us back to square one.”

In a subsequent Tonight programme, ITV will interview Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Keir Starmer: Up Close – Tonight will air Thursday on ITV1 and ITVX at 8.30pm.