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Keir Starmer’s bluff called over Meghan Markle support despite ‘monarchist’ claims

Keir Starmer needs to ‘show more passion’ says Andrew Fisher

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Sir Keir must be careful in judging public opinion surrounding the Royal Family following his support for the Duchess of Sussex last month, Express.co.uk has been told. It comes after the Labour leader claimed to be a staunch monarchist in favour of the Queen and the establishment she embodies. An unearthed video of the former lawyer surfaced earlier this year which showed him boasting about supporting the “abolition of the monarchy” while talking about his being appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 2005.

This was shortly after a leaked memo revealed how Labour was being urged to become more patriotic.

In the wake of Meghan and Prince Harry’s tell-all interview with US talk show host Oprah, which included many allegations against the Royal Family, Sir Keir was seen to snub the Queen with his support for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

He demanded that Buckingham Palace open an investigation into the claims of racism made by Meghan, with Philip Johnston accusing the Labour leader of “attacking” the monarchy while writing in The Daily Telegraph.

Paul Embery, a leading trade unionist and Labour member, told Express.co.uk that Sir Keir must in such instances “be very careful” about the steps he takes.

Otherwise, Mr Embery noted, Sir Keir risks alienating those voters which Labour desperately needs to have any chance at a future election victory.

He said: “Starmer needs to be very careful about making judgements on what he thinks is public opinion when in fact many people disagree.

“On the Meghan Markle thing, since that interview there’s been a lot of sympathy for the royals – most people I’ve come across thought it was an inappropriate interview to give and that it was an open attack on the Royal Family.

“Many working class people are monarchists and I think there’s probably an instinct among people to side with the Royal Family, and to see these two people who have chosen a life of celebrity over a life of service attacking them didn’t go down particularly well.

“So Starmer needs to think hard before picking a particular side in these issues which are not straightforward and actually where there are polarised opinions.”

While Sir Keir has become known for his “abolish of the monarchy” past, in the run-up to Labour’s leadership election last year, he said he would instead move to downsize the Royal Family.

A similar plan has been floated by Prince Charles.

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Yet, in an interview with The Sunday Times this weekend, Sir Keir described himself as a “monarchist” committed to the Royal Family and what it stands for.

When asked about the 2005 video, he said: “I am a monarchist.

“I do believe in the Queen.

“I believe in the Royal Family.”

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Claiming that he’d “never gone down the republican route,” regarding the clip, he added: “I was making a joke.

“It was a throwaway remark.”

His views on the monarchy do appear to have changed in the years following the video.

In 2014, he accepted a knighthood in the New Year Honours list after five years as Director of Public Prosecutions.

In the same year, he was invested as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace by Charles.

The leaked Labour memo, seen by The Guardian, which came from an internal strategy presentation commissioned by the party, urged it to make “use of the [union] flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly”.

It also warned Sir Keir that voters wanted him to “stop sitting on the fence” and come up with some policy ideas of his own.

Sir Keir’s spokesman has said that the Labour leader is a “proud patriot” who “believes in the monarchy”.

He said the Queen and her family have been a “beacon of hope” during the pandemic.

Yet, the leader has a challenge on his hands with certain figures in the party who have expressed disdain for both the Royal Family and the party’s patriotic trajectory.

Clive Lewis, who ran for the leadership role alongside Sir Keir, said there should be a referendum on the future of the Royal Family, also expressing distrust over the party’s newfound love of the nation.

Similarly, Lisa Nandy, the Shadow Foreign Secretary who has recently been linked to a potential move to Shadow Chancellor should Anneliese Dodds be uprooted, also ran for the leadership on a campaign committed to holding a referendum on the royals.

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