Jeremy Corbyn had to step in to stop his successor Sir Keir Starmer from taking a second job, according to reports.
In 2017, The Times leaked that Starmer – then the shadow Brexit secretary – was offered a job by Mishcon de Reya, the law firm behind a court case that forced Theresa May to give parliament a vote on Article 50.
Starmer was accused by Conservative MPs of a “conflict of interest” over the job – which he had been expected to accept before the intervention of Corbyn who had, two years earlier, voted to ban MPs from holding second jobs.
A Twitter thread posted by Alex Nunns, Corbyn’s former speechwriter, has laid bare the extent of the saga, which was resolutely shut down by the MP for Islington North.
He said: “Starmer’s office had argued there was nothing to worry about in him taking the job, because the Mishcon training academy, which he would be advising, was “really cool.”
“When the issue blew up & the Tories attacked (Mishcon represented Gina Miller, Starmer’s brief was Brexit), Starmer wanted to stick with Mishcon’s words that “We are in discussions with Keir Starmer about reappointing him as an adviser” & say it was a limited role—ie ride it out.
“However, the job was vetoed, whereupon Starmer switched to claim it was his decision, saying “I am grateful for Mischon 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.”
Sir Keir, a former director of public prosecutions, worked for Mishcon de Reya before becoming an MP in 2015. The role would have seen him advising the firm’s internal think tank, and would not have been client-facing.
The newspaper reported that Starmer held a similar role a year earlier, earning £4,500 for legal advice provided to the firm between 1 June and 30 September.
Payments ceased when he was appointed shadow Brexit secretary in October 2016, although he did receive £3,200 for legal advice to another firm – Simons Muirhead and Burton – the following month.
Sky News interview
Asked about his potential role with Mishcon de Reya on Sky News on Monday night, Starmer said he was “in discussion” with the firm – but “nothing happened”.
He added: “I have given up my practicing certificate, I can no longer act as a lawyer. I have two jobs – one is to represent the people of Holborn and St Pancras, my constituency, and the other is to bring down this awful government.
“I have given written pieces of legal advice since becoming an MP, but I have now given up my legal certificate – I gave it up the best part of two years ago. That means I am no longer qualified to give legal advice.
“My job is to represent those people in Holborn and St Pancras and to bring down this awful government.”