If Keir Starmer wins the Labour leadership, popular “disk jockey” and severely-wronged public figure and beat obituarist Paul Gambaccini says he will stand (or run) against him at the next election.
From The Times:
Paul Gambaccini, the BBC radio star, is threatening to stand against Sir Keir Starmer at the next general election in protest at the Labour leadership hopeful’s handling of Operation Yewtree.
The disc jockey, who was arrested in 2013 on false allegations of sexual abuse, blames Starmer, the former director of public prosecutions, for the “torment” he suffered at the hands of the Metropolitan police.
“I can assure you if the Labour Party makes Keir Starmer their leader, I will run against him at the next election,” he said.
Mr Gambaccini claims that Sir Keir, who headed the Crown Prosecution Service from 2008 to 2013, launched a “witch-hunt” against him and the likes of Sir Cliff Richard and Jimmy Tarbuck, “ruining countless lives”.
In 2013, Sir Keir responded to the Jimmy Savile scandal and sex-grooming cases by issuing new guidance to prosecutors to focus on the credibility of allegations, not the alleged victims, when deciding whether to prosecute.
In a valedictory interview on the Andrew Marr Show that year, he said that in the past there were “crude tests” for believability and “many victims didn’t have the confidence to come forward because we were asking the wrong questions”.
Mr Gambaccini, 70, said: “I believe that Starmer has always wanted to be prime minister and I believe that he was playing to the crowd with his ‘believe every accuser’ mantra.”
The host of Radio 2’s Pick of the Pops was arrested in October 2013 over false allegations of child sex abuse, his home was raided and he spent 12 months on bail before being exonerated. He has since successfully sued the CPS, winning an undisclosed sum.
Mr Gambacinni is still deeply traumatised by the experience, which he believes began with Starmer.
He said: “I have the most negative feelings about Keir Starmer imaginable. Countless human beings were tormented because of him and he has never apologised. Keir is not only unsuitable to be leader of the Labour Party, he is unsuitable for any public position down to and including dog-catcher. He serves only himself and not the people.”
The extraordinary attack on the leadership hopeful is particularly wounding because Mr Gambacinni has been a prominent supporter of Labour. He has supported the party since the late 1980s and, until his arrest in 2013, hosted fundraisers for Ed Miliband at his London home.
Mr Gambacinni says other of the party’s celebrity supporters have spoken out against Sir Keir. He claims the actor Stephen Fry told an audience at a Labour fundraiser in 2014 “to remember a basic tenet of British justice: innocent until proven guilty — and pointed out that Operation Yewtree was losing more cases than it was winning”.
In 2015, Mr Tarbuck, 79, broke down in tears on a television talk show discussing his arrest in 2013 over false allegations of child sex abuse in the 1970. His accusers said they were molested on Top of the Pops in 1963. Tarbuck pointed out that he had never appeared on the show, which didn’t even begin till 1964. It took the CPS almost a year to clear him.
Sir Cliff, 79, was also traumatised after false allegations were levelled at him. He has since left the UK and now lives in New York.
Mr Gambacinni said: “We now know that the overwhelming number of cases against public personalities was false, usually outrageously so. Starmer baled [out] just in time because the cases he had signed off on were going down in flames.”
The presenter still regularly meets with others who were falsely accused after Sir Keir encouraged victims to come forward. The group has tried to piece together how their “ordeal” began and have concluded that it started with Sir Keir, who was knighted in 2014 for services to law and criminal justice.
The radio star said: “[Starmer’s] ‘believe every accuser’ philosophy is an inversion of the fundamental tenet of British justice: innocent until proven guilty. Everyone has a right to be heard. No one has a right to be automatically believed.”
He added: “The experience of being on bail ended years ago, but the torment of not getting an apology from the police or Starmer, and seeing my tormentors being promoted, continues. The idea that this person could be promoted when he caused so much suffering to so many innocent people boggles the brain.”
Sir Keir’s team pointed to an article he wrote in 2013 in which he talked of the “very damaging impact” a false allegation of rape or sexual assault, either malicious or misguided, could have on those falsely accused.