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Human rights champion Keir Starmer new Labour leader

April 6, 2020

Newly elected Labour leader Keir Starmer, who gained 56.2% of votes in Saturday’s (April 2) election to take over from Jeremy Corbyn, is known for being an ally and advocate for  LGBTQ+ communities.

The former human rights lawyer was elected to parliament in 2015 as MP for Holborn & St Pancras, so did not face most of the major votes on LGBTQ+ rights, however, he was on the side of same-sex marriage being extended to Northern Ireland in July last year.

In February Starmer wrote an essay for Pink News outlining his stance in general.

He told the magazine that he: supported reform of the Gender Recognition Act; wanted to see media transphobia combatted and an improvement in the reporting on hate crimes; and that he was a supporter of LGBT-inclusive sex and relationships education, which is to become compulsory in schools from September.

Prior to gaining public office, Starmer worked as a human rights lawyer with the Human Dignity Trust, which challenges homophobic laws across the Commonwealth, and he has pledged to continue this work.

He told Pink News in his essay: “Labour is a proudly internationalist party, and we need to fight for the rights of LGBT+ people no matter where they happened to be born.

“I would put fighting for human rights at the centre of the Department for International Development.”

When he launched his leadership bid Starmer laid out 10 pledges to Labour voters, among them to fight for economic, social and climate justice, the defence of migrants’ rights and equality.

Of the latter he said: “Pull down obstacles that limit opportunities and talent. We are the party of the Equal Pay Act, Sure Start, BAME representation and the abolition of Section 28 – we must build on that for a new decade.”

Starmer, whose deputy is Angela Rayner, said his leadership win “was the honour and privilege of my life”.

You can see the full new Labour shadow cabinet here