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Tory blasts 'republican' Starmer over election clash with King speech

‘Republican’ Sir Keir Starmer accused of holding King Charles in ‘contempt’ by launching Labour’s local election campaign at the same time as the monarch’s major speech to the German parliament

  • The opposition leader gave a speech to supporters in Swindon this morning
  • At the same time Charles gave speech to members of the Bundestag parliament

Keir Starmer has been accused of disrespecting the King by launching Labour’s local election campaign at the same time as Charles made the first major foreign speech of his reign. 

Tory MP Desmond Swayne lashed out at the opposition leader, who gave a speech to supporters in Swindon this morning that included a pledge to freeze council tax.

At the same time, Charles and Camilla were in Berlin, where the King gave a well-received speech in the Reichstag – mostly in German – to members of the Bundestag parliament. 

Sir Desmond, the New Forest West MP and a former international development minister, said that Sir Keir should apologise for intruding on the publicity around the King’s first major state visit.

He told MailOnline: ‘The British public will be left with no doubt that Labour hold King and country with such contempt. But given Sir Keir’s previous republican tendencies this should come as no surprise.’ 

TV channels chose to run the King’s speech uninterrupted, and it is understood Labour knew the leader’s speech would be broadcast afterwards.

The Conservatives avoided such a clash by quietly launching their campaign with little fanfare last week.

The opposition leader gave a speech to supporters in Swindon this morning that included a pledge to freeze council tax

At the same time, Charles and Camilla were in Berlin, where the King gave a well-received speech in the Reichstag – mostly in German – to members of the Bundestag parliament.

Sir Desmond Swayne told MailOnline: ‘The British public will be left with no doubt that Labour hold King and country with such contempt. But given Sir Keir’s previous republican tendencies this should come as no surprise.’

Charles today became the first British monarch to address the Bundestag in Berlin – and did almost the entire historic speech in German – as his state visit went from strength to strength.

There were nods of approval and several rounds of applause from MPs as His Majesty spoke about the ‘friendship’ between ‘our nations’, and at times the royal looked emotional to be there.

Charles also spoke movingly about the Queen’s love for Germany and how he was moved by the tributes from its people after she died last September. He added: ‘This friendship meant so much to my beloved mother, the Queen.’

The King praised Germany for standing up for Ukraine after Russia’s invasion, saying it ‘threatens’ Europe’s security but that he was ‘encouraged’ by the ‘unity’ shown by Britain, Germany and other nations.

He also joked about the rivalry between the two countries played out on the football pitch, including the Lionesses’ recent defeat of Germany’s women at Euro 2022.

There was also an ovation as he spoke of the ability of the nations to laugh ‘both with each other and at each other’ and their shared love of sport, literature and music, referencing The Beatles and Kraftwerk.

He said: ‘In just a few weeks’ time, the astonishing music of Georg Friedrich Handel – who was born a German, and died British – will once again soar through Westminster Abbey at the Coronation, just as it has at every Coronation since that of my seven times great grandfather, King George II, in 1727’.

But there was no mention of Brexit, only Germany and Britain working together on net zero and renewable energy including wind farms, a personal passion for the King.

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