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Sir Keir Starmer rejects law firm role after conflict of interest concern raised

Conservative MP James Cleverly wrote to the shadow Brexit secretary with his concerns over the position.

Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has turned down a potential advisory role at a leading law firm after a Tory MP raised concerns over a possible conflict of interest.

Following reports that Sir Keir, a former director of public prosecutions, could be appointed as a legal adviser for Mishcon de Reya, James Cleverly wrote to him asking him to set out what the position could involve.

But the shadow Brexit secretary has now ended talks over a possible role at the Mishcon Academy, the firm’s in-house training unit.

Sir Keir said: “I am grateful to Mishcon de Reya for discussing a possible role advising the Mishcon Academy with me, but, given my other commitments, I have decided not to further the discussions.”

It comes after Mr Cleverly raised concerns about the firm’s involvement in legal cases related to Brexit.

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Sir Keir Starmer (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

In a letter to Sir Keir, the Tory MP wrote: “Mishcon de Reya have been an active participant in legal cases surrounding the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

“The firm stressed that the result of the referendum was not legally binding and supported anonymous claimants in their legal efforts last year.

“The firm acted for Gina Miller in her case against the Government regarding the triggering of Article 50 even though your party leader Jeremy Corbyn called for Article 50 to be triggered immediately following the referendum, without the consent of Parliament.

“The firm’s legal work alongside your role in the shadow cabinet creates a possible conflict of interests.”

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Conservative MP James Cleverly has written to the shadow Brexit secretary (PA)

Mr Cleverly added: “The Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament (paragraph 10) stresses that MPs ‘should avoid any conflict between personal interests and the public interest and states that members must resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest’.

“In your position as the Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union you will be personally involved with drafting and speaking on legislative amendments on the EU Withdrawal Bill.

“You have also recently been made a member of the Privy Council, which will allow you privileged access to documents and information.”

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