Letter to Keir Starmer to resign as Leader of the Opposition

Sir Keir Starmer                                                                          

Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition,                                                                                               

House of Commons




Dear Keir Starmer,

The first and most important duty of any Government, is to keep citizens safe and to take reasonable steps to do so. By any measure, on evidence that has been sent to you and every Labour MP on numerous occasions, as a consequence of our Safer Schools campaign, this current Government and Prime Minister has failed in that duty.  Subsequently as the Leader of the Opposition, you have failed in your duty to hold them to account.

Being made aware on a number of occasions since 2018, first as an MP and then as Leader of the opposition, of alleged failings within the Department for Education (DfE), that on the evidence, had led to the harm, deaths and suicides of children, due to bullying and violence in UK schools, you failed to act to ensure any investigation of the issues. Even after being informed that a separate High Court hearing had found, that previous alleged failures to act on the part of ministers, demonstrated “tremendous incompetence” and left unanswered questions regarding a deliberate cover up of the issues by the DfE, you failed to take any steps to ensure any investigation took place. Your failure to act, occurred after being informed that up to 4 children were potentially losing their lives to suicide weekly and others likely to suffer the same fate and many more likely to be harmed, as a result of any further failure. 

As Leader of the Opposition, you were made aware in 2023 by way of letter, that your failure to respond on numerous occasions to the information sent to you in relation to these issues since 2019, had in and of itself potentially resulted in more loss of life. This should have led at the very least to an apology. You should have then taken steps to ensure there was an appropriate investigation, to ensure no further failures and unnecessary deaths would occur. You should have also taken immediate steps to ensure children could be better protected by way of any possible immediate interventions that might be needed, while the process of investigation was set in motion but failed to do so, even after you were explicitly asked on the basis of previous allegations, to take steps to ensure that the issues could not be covered up.

As Leader of the Opposition, this meant you had failed to ensure that anyone would even consider the concerns of more than 150 families from across the UK, many of whom had suffered the tragedy of having lost a child and simply agree to do what you could to help save lives.

Importantly, having received those allegations of serious criminal misconduct related to the deaths of children, you did nothing whatsoever to investigate matters further. Ultimately, since 2019 no adequate steps have been taken to investigate whatsoever. All these points leave the question of a deliberate cover up, of potentially an extremely serious crime by the Leader of the Opposition and potentially the next Prime Minister, unanswered.

In all of this, not once have you directly expressed any message of condolence, sadness or compassion for the children and their families, or expressed any concern whatsoever in relation to the tragic cases that have been brought to your attention. In contrast, the case has now been raised with leaders of more than 100 countries across the world, a number of whom have sent messages of support for the campaign and the children. 

Significantly, the issues and alleged failures to take action have been identified by Ingrid Bellander Todino, the European Commission’s Head of Human rights, as potential human rights violations by the UK Government. Ms Todino herself has taken the time to offer her condolences and support, as well as to express her sadness at what she describes in her own words as “the terrible circumstances of this case”.

In light of all of the above and the fact that as international awareness of this story increases, so inevitably will the harm to the UK’s reputation, when it comes to the importance of child protection and children’s rights issues, I am writing to ask for your resignation as Leader of the Labour Party.

As well as sending this letter to you privately I will be immediately publishing this as an open letter, which I will make available to the public. I will seek to take further steps to ensure you are held fully accountable for your failures, should a decision to resign not be forthcoming soon after.

Yours sincerely,

Jason Barnett

Safer Schools Campaign Lead