Keir Starmer visits Richard Ratcliffe on 17th day of hunger strike

Labour leader Keir Starmer (front row left) accompanied by Labour M.P. Tulip Siddiq (back row far ri

Labour leader Keir Starmer, Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq, and Labour deputy leader, Angela Rayner joined Richard Ratcliffe outside the Foreign Office in London on day 17 of his hunger strike. - Credit: PA

The Labour leader and deputy leader have shown their support for Richard Ratcliffe on the 17th day of his hunger strike.

Sir Keir Starmer visited the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe yesterday (November 9) at his makeshift camp outside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national, has been imprisoned in Iran since 2016. She is detained over allegations, which she denies, of plotting to overthrow the Tehran government.

Sir Keir was joined by deputy labour Leader Angela Rayner who told Richard: “I’m really sorry that you are having to do this.”

The Holborn and St Pancras MP told him “there has to be a resolution to this”, adding: “I feel that there is more support now than last time.”

“I hope that we meet again in different circumstances," Sir Keir added. There is cross-party support to get you through this.”

He then signed Richard's visitors’ book and the pair posed for photographers. Richard said that it was “nice” to meet the Labour leader again.

“It was nice”, he said. “He’s a nice man. He was very sincere and decent. He asked if there was anything I wanted. I said that the government had been complacent. He said they would challenge that complacency.” He added: “I felt like they have got our back.”

Mr Ratcliffe said that he has yet to secure another meeting with foreign secretary Liz Truss, although his representatives are “pushing” for one.

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“We would expect one this month or next month,” he said. He last met Ms Truss two weeks ago.

“The last meeting ended awkwardly, ended with a sense of this is just not working," Richard said.

Labour leader Keir Starmer meets with Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Iranian detainee Nazanin Zag

Richard Ratcliffe called Keir Starmer "very sincere and decent" - Credit: PA

However, he felt his campaign has had some success, with the Iranian deputy prime minister now due to visit London on Thursday.

“That’s a direct consequence”, Richard said. He will try to continue his hunger strike until then. “If the body will hold out,” he added.

The West Hampstead resident, who previously completed a 15-day hunger strike, said he is “now in uncharted territory” and is seeing the physical effects of 16 days without food, including experiencing cold hands and feet. 

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