Labour activists in a fresh battle on social networks have demanded the leader of the party Sir Keir Starmer resign over his refusal to stand as an opposition to a new government security law which allows undercover security agents, including police to commit certain crimes undercover without coming under the weight of the law.
Sir Keir instructed his MPs to abstain on the motion which was passed into law on Monday night, after which the activist argue that a blanket ban on agents breaking the law could leave them vulnerable to detection from the groups they are infiltrating.
Despite the Labour leader’s instruction, 18 MPs including former leader Jeremy Corbyn alongside John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, who was appointed as his Shadow Chancellor and Shadow Home Secretary voted against the bill.
Reacting to Sir Keir’s position on the new law, the party’s activists have created and trended ‘#ResignStarmer’ on Twitter, with one activist from Cornwall, with almost 24,000 followers saying with his handle, “No more excuses.
“No more government support. No more quisling abstentions. I’ve no patience left. We need an opposition leader & it’s clear as day Starmer will never fit that bill. He has to go.”
Another Twitter user among the Labour activists tweeted, “I say #ResignStarmer. He increasingly comes across as an elitist who shows contempt for Labour members and would rather [receive] donations from the rich than subscriptions from Labour members who he is supposed to represent, but doesn’t. He’s let us down too many times already.”
After a while, it became like a battle as supporters of Sir Keir responded to the trending hashtag with a #StarmerOutstanding trending too, with one tweeting, “That Corbynites are choosing this moment, of all moments, to launch an all-out attempt to shore up Boris Johnson’s position is both ridiculous as well as unforgivable.”
In response to the accusation he’s losing control of his party Sir Keir said, “No, there are obviously strong views on this particular bill. It is important that the powers that are exercised are there in a statute. It’s the right thing. Obviously we want to see the bill strengthened and we will be focusing on that.”
Jeremy Corbyn explained his opposition to the bill in a tweet, “I have grave concerns regarding the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill. It could enable unnecessary and unlawful interference with the legitimate activities of trade unions, environmentalists, anti-racists & other campaigners. We must always stand up for human rights.”