While Labour have been going hell-for-leather on the issue of MP’s second jobs, Starmer’s been sidelined and Rayner is doing the media work. At the start of the news storm Guido pointed out Starmer had pocketed £113,975 in second job fees since becoming an MP in 2015, including advising the government of the Gibraltar tax haven. The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, put the work Starmer’s way because they are old pals. When Starmer won the Labour Party leadership Picardo congratulated him warmly, “I have today written to my old friend Sir Kier Starmer QC, who I have known since we were both young lawyers, to congratulate him on becoming leader of the Labour Party…”. That’s the kind of cronyism that Starmer attributes to the government.
The one interview Starmer has done – with Sky News – resulted in tough questions about his 2017 role advising Mishcon de Reya. He also was less than transparent about when he surrendered his practising certificate – Guido believes it was only surrendered last year. Guido understands Labour’s director of communications Matt Doyle is calling Lobby hacks telling them there’s nothing to see here…
Could Starmer’s subsequent silence on the issue have anything to do with claims by Corbyn’s former speechwriter Alex Nunns the day after his Sky News interview? Nunns claims that Corbyn had to stop Starmer taking a second job doing high-paid consultancy work for Mishcon in 2017, with Starmer arguing he should be free to take up the role. He says any claims by Starmer that it was his decision not to take the job are a pretence.
“Starmer’s office had argued there was nothing to worry about in him taking the job, because the Mishcon training academy, which he would be advising, was “really cool.”
When the issue blew up & the Tories attacked (Mishcon represented Gina Miller, Starmer’s brief was Brexit), Starmer wanted to stick with Mishcon’s words that “We are in discussions with Keir Starmer about reappointing him as an adviser” & say it was a limited role—i.e. ride it out.
However, the job was vetoed, whereupon Starmer switched to claim it was his decision, saying “I am grateful for Mishcon de Reya for discussing a possible role advising the Mishcon Academy with me but given my other commitments, I have decided not to further the discussions.””
Since December last year Starmer’s declared £25,934.18 in miscellaneous legal fees, with one for 70 hours billed at £17,598.60. Starmer has not declared who the end client was that paid him, the lack of transparency again makes it is impossible for voters to see if he had a conflict of interest. One of the questions Starmer must answer is, who specifically lined his pockets?