Search

WATCH: Iain Duncan Smith apologises after calling Keir Starmer MP a ‘second rate lawyer’

PUBLISHED: 18:30 12 October 2016 | UPDATED: 09:54 13 October 2016

Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer wasn't troubled by Iain Duncan Smith's jibe

Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer wasn't troubled by Iain Duncan Smith's jibe

Supplied by Keir Starmer

Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer said he “isn’t bothered at all” about being branded a “second-rate lawyer” after Tory Iain Duncan Smith apologises in the Commons today.

Mr Starmer, a human rights QC and former Director of Public Prosecutions, earlier told the Ham&High that he “wasn’t bothered at all” about the one-time Tory leader’s jibe and wouldn’t dignify it with a response.

Earlier this afternoon, former work and pensions secretary Mr Duncan Smith told the Commons: ‘Can I unreservedly withdraw the allegation I made on Monday – only on the basis that it was clumsy.

“It was not meant about him. It was meant about advice, and I don’t doubt for a moment his capabilities as a lawyer.’

Mr Starmer replied: “I’m grateful for that and I can assure him I wasn’t the slightest bit concerned.”

On Monday, during a debate on whether Parliament should have a vote on accepting the conditions of the UK’s exit package from the European Union, Mr Starmer clashed with government Brexit secretary David Davis.

Mr Duncan-Smith, a leading Brexiteer who is currently a backbencher, told his Conservative colleague Mr Davis: “May I congratulate him on his statement and may I urge him to resist the temptation of advice from a second-rate lawyer who doesn’t even understand the parliamentary process.”

His remark caused uproar in the House, although Mr Starmer merely half-smiled alongside his fellow Labour MP and barrister Emily Thornberry, as Twitter users leapt furiously to his defence.

The Tory later got a grilling from Jon Snow on Channel 4 News, who said: “He was probably the star lawyer of his generation! Who are you, a non-lawyer, to describe him as a second-rate lawyer?”

Typical comments on Twitter came from QC Jo Maugham who said: “Iain Duncan Smith: second rate intellect, third rate Tory leader and fourth rate human being.”

Tottenham’s Labour MP David Lammy also took to Twitter to say: “Iain Duncan Smith has absolutely no right whatsoever to call former Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer a ‘second rate lawyer’”.

Mr Starmer, a graduate of Leeds and Oxford University, enjoyed a glittering career as a human rights barrister before turning to politics and remains an associate tenant at Doughty Street Chambers in Camden.

Mr Duncan Smith has a background in business and had his academic credentials called into question in 2001 when a BBC Newsnight investigation found he had made “misleading” claims on his CV.

His CV and “Who’s Who” entry claimed he had been to the University of Perugia in Italy - but the investigation revealed he had attended a different institution - a languages school - in the same city and hadn’t obtained a degree.

Mr Starmer said he intends to “hold the government fully to account” over the Brexit negotiations, as he and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry today submitted a list of 170 questions on the exit process.

He said: “It’s not about not accepting the result of the Referendum or calling for a second one - it’s about understanding what the terms of the exit package are and what Brexit will mean in practice. That has never been made clear to the British people. The most crucial question is the one on membership of the single market.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

07:57

“French” conmen in Hampstead targeting drivers at parking meters have struck again, stealing £3500 from a Highgate woman.

53 minutes ago

Sky Mobile has been accused of “social cleansing in an advert” after the Chalcots Estate, which was evacuated due to flammable cladding last year, was airbrushed out of a new advert for the Apple IPhone Xs.

11:17

As the City of London Corporation (CoLC) consults the public over how to put a radical 10-year “Heath Vision” plan into action, the Heath and Hampstead Society’s John Beyer has emphasised the need to make the Heath accessible to groups who don’t take advantage of it at present.

11:00

Nearly 20 people were arrested in a wave of early morning raids across north and south London, with drugs and cash seized linked to drug dealing and violence in Camden Lock Market.

08:52

These are pictures showing the final movements of a man who was found dead behind a takeaway in Golders Green on September 21.

Last week, the council had a brief debate about the most important decision this country will take in a generation, Brexit.

I’m delighted to see Alan’s Records (our Business of the Week) going strong after 24 years.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now