Keir Starmer to promise ‘total crackdown on charity’

Sir Keir Starmer is promising a “total crackdown on charity” if he becomes prime minister, with jail terms of more than a decade for those who cheat the government.

In a pledge to restore standards in public life, the Labor leader will also double down on his pledge to crack down on former ministers taking up lobbying positions after they leave office.

But Sir Keir is reportedly considering scaling back his pledge to impose a five-year ban on the practice.

He will use a speech on Thursday to set the tone for what is expected to be a year-long bid to win power just five years after Labour's worst election defeat since 1935.

Keir Starmer used a New Year speech to tell voters Britain's future ‘rests in your hands'

(Keir Starmer)

Quotes seen from The guardian show that Sir Keir will say: “Trust in politics is now so low, so degraded, that no one believes that anyone can make a difference anymore.

“After the sex scandals, the expense scandals, the spending scandals, the contracts for friends – even in a crisis like the pandemic – people think we're all out for ourselves.”

He will add: “To change Britain, we have to change ourselves – we have to clean up politics. No more VIP fast lanes, no more coworker kickbacks, no more revolving doors between the government and the companies they regulate.

“I will restore standards in public life by a total suppression of friendship.”

His promised crackdown comes amid growing fallout over PPE contracts awarded during the pandemic, including £200m awarded to Michelle Mone's PPE Medpro through a so-called VIP lane.

Sir Keir said Baroness Mone should be expelled from the House of Lords and described the situation as a “shocking disgrace from top to bottom”.

The law currently allows jail terms of up to a decade for serious fraud cases, but Sir Keir's team is drawing up proposals to impose tougher punishments for defrauding the government.

Elsewhere in the speech, Sir Keir will say that politics is not a “preaching from above” or a “self-respecting lecture” but about how to make “a practical difference” to the lives of people.

And he will attack former Tory prime ministers Boris Johnson and Lord Cameron, saying politics is not a “hobby” for people who “enjoy the feeling of power”. Daily Telegraph mentionted.

Rishi Sunak has confirmed that an election will be held this year, although he is expected to delay a contest until the autumn. Conservative chairman Richard Holden said there was only a “one in three” chance Mr Sunak would call an earlier contest in May.

Labor has an 18-point lead over the Conservatives in the polls and Sir Keir's speech is an attempt to keep the momentum going into the new year.