Keir Starmer calls Boris Johnson and Tories 'party of crime'

Keir Starmer channels Tony Blair vowing to be tough on ’causes’ of crime as he tries to revive Labour’s fortunes by taking on Tories over law and order

  • Starmer called Tories the ‘party of crime and disorder’ 
  • A Labour analysis found police budgets down significantly over 10 years, but the Home Office released findings showing an inflation-adjusted 0.1% increase
  • Sir Keir echoes Tony Blair, who promised to be ‘tough on crime’ 
  • Labour leader decried knife attacks, high levels of unsolved crime

Eyes on 2024, Sir Keir Starmer echoed former Labour PM Tony Blair in promising a tough-on-crime approach if his party is elected, and branded Conservatives the ‘party of crime and disorder’.

Sir Keir pointed to a Labour analysis that found police budgets are down £1.6 billion from 2010, when Boris Johnson’s party seized power. He said that from 2010 to 2020, the UK had lost 14,500 officers on the frontline.

‘The Conservatives have become the party of crime and disorder. Labour would do things very differently,’ Starmer wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday night in the Independent, where he announced a new Labour campaign for safer communities.

He accused government ministers of being ‘contortionists’ who twist figures to make the police budget look like it’s grown.


Sir Keir called out the PM and conservatives for depleting the police budget, according to a Labour analysis

Mr Johnson pledged in 2019 to recruit 20,000 new police officers. Last month, he touted ‘record numbers’ of new recruits. 

Findings released by the Home Office last month showed that police funding for fiscal year 2021-2022 increased by £433m, or 2.8 per cent, over the previous year. The total figure was up 0.1 per cent from 2010-2011 when adjusted for inflation, according to the findings. 

Starmer’s party compiled figures from all 43 forces back to 2010 to find total funding down 10.5 per cent, or £1.6bn, according to the Independent.

‘The Conservative Party cut our police to the lowest level in a generation. It’s no coincidence that was followed by rising antisocial behaviour, record levels of knife crime, and almost nine in 10 crimes going unsolved’, Sir Keir said.

He promised to divert funding from Mr Johnson’s plans for a ‘pointless’ national yacht and divert the reported £200m to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Starmer touted his own former role as the nation’s chief prosecutor. ‘I spent five years as this country’s chief prosecutor. I know what it takes to get criminals off the streets and get victims the justice they deserve.’

Sir Keir’s remarks call to mind those of Mr. Blair, who promised to be ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’.

Tony Blair touted a tough-on-crime approach as Labour leader 

 Sir Keir noted an ‘epidemic of violence against women and girls.’ ‘More than 98 per cent of reported rape cases don’t result in a charge. Let that sink in,’ he said.

‘Too many people feel unsafe in their own communities. Antisocial behaviour has skyrocketed. A generation of young people is growing up with their local youth clubs closed and their youth workers lost – vital positive role models that help divert people from the grips of crime,’ Starmer continued.

‘Police across the country are warning that we face a summer of violence. We cannot ignore the fact that pent up tension among young people, many of whom have gone unsupported for 18 months, could have tragic consequences.’

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