Lawyer who called Keir Starmer average is UK’s most senior prosecutor

Lawyer who called Keir Starmer ‘average’ is unveiled as the country’s most senior prosecutor, the role held by the Labour leader for five years

A lawyer who referred to Sir Keir Starmer as ‘average’ has been unveiled as the country’s most senior prosecutor.

Stephen Parkinson, the son of a vicar, has been appointed Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the role held by Sir Keir for five years before he became an MP.

The 66-year-old will succeed Max Hill when he stands down next month, Attorney General Victoria Prentis confirmed. 

Speaking in May, Mr Parkinson described Labour leader Sir Keir as ‘an average DPP’ who had been ‘over-reliant on advice given by others; he had no in-depth experience of prosecuting’.

He has also said that Dominic Raab‘s treatment of staff while justice secretary meant civil servants would be dissuaded from giving ministers crucial advice. 

Speaking in May, Mr Parkinson described Labour leader Sir Keir as 'an average DPP'

He told The Times: ‘That is the impact of the behaviour he displayed – that many civil servants will not give the advice that [ministers] need to hear.’ 

Mr Parkinson also hit out Mr Raab’s accusations that civil servants with a ‘political agenda’ had blocked his reforms. 

He said: ‘There was no political agenda. On many occasions civil servants saved ministers from getting into trouble, because they gave them the advice they needed to hear.

‘People like Raab talk about the “blob” and blocking things and so forth but sometimes the civil service gives advice that something shouldn’t happen simply because that is the best advice. It is a symbiotic relationship.’

Mr Parkinson has also been outspoken about the Black Lives Matter movement, The Telegraph reports.

In 2020, after George Floyd’s murder by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he said that the movement ‘shines a light on the disparity of treatment of black people compared to other ethnicities’.

In a blog post, he suggested that it would be beneficial for colleagues at Kingsley Napley to gain a broader understanding of the movement, highlighting several books, essays and seminars. 

Mr Parkinson takes the helm of a CPS grappling with issues around prosecuting rape and sexual offence allegations after a watchdog warned junior barristers lacking expertise were often assigned these complicated cases.

Andrew Cayley, chief inspector of the CPS, said in February that it was vital a shortage of senior barristers available to the state was addressed.

Mr Parkinson, who stepped down from law firm Kingsley Napley this year, spent 20 years in the civil service then another 20 years in private practice.


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