Times photographer Jack Hill
Sir Keir Starmer, QC, the shadow Brexit secretary and former Director of Public Prosecutions, is at the centre of a potential conflict of interest row as he goes into to re-join a leading London law firm (Sam Coates writes).
Sir Keir and Mishcon de Reya are on the verge of cutting a deal in which the barrister would return to the firm he originally left when he joined the shadow cabinet. The Labour MP briefly re-joined his old chambers, Doughty Street, when he stood down as DPP. But in 2014 he joined Mishcon de Reya as a part-time consultant, first in the firm’s business crime unit and then in its “leadership academy”. He stood down from that role in advance of joining Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench team, but according to The Lawyer magazine, he is now negotiating a return.
Such a move is likely to be controversial as the firm acted for Gina Miller in her landmark Supreme Court case that forced the government to get MPs’ approval to trigger the UK’s departure from the EU.
Sir Keir’s register of members’ interests entry revealed that from June 1, 2016, until September 30, 2016, he received £4,500 a month excluding VAT for legal advice provided to the Mishcon de Reya Academy.
A new appointment could upset those on the left who do not believe MPs should have second jobs and Brexiteers who will highlight the association of the firm with the Article 50-Brexit case. Sir Keir did not return messages requesting for comment.
It is understood that the firm did not anticipate the negotiations around his potential return being made public. In a statement, Mishcon de Reya said: “We are in discussions with Keir Starmer about reappointing him as an adviser to the Mishcon Academy. His wide experience and previous association with the firm would enable him to play a key and unique role in shaping the work of the academy, which leads new thinking and develops the potential of everyone in the firm.”