Sir Keir Starmer, who is accused of being too boring, banned popular frontbencher Dr Rosena Allin-Khan from making media appearances after she travelled to Ukraine and gave TV interviews
- Labour leader instilled ban after Dr Rosena Alli-Khan gave interviews in Ukraine
- One source said his office ‘went nuts’ and banned her from media appearances
- Dr Allin-Khan said she had travelled to Lviv to work as a humanitarian doctor
Sir Keir Starmer banned a popular frontbencher and leadership contender from media appearances.
The Labour leader, who has been plagued with accusations of being too ‘boring’, signed off the ban after Dr Rosena Allin-Khan travelled to Ukraine and gave television interviews from the war zone.
Insiders said his office was furious at the Shadow Health Minister’s March visit and told her not to make broadcast appearances for weeks after.
A Labour source said: ‘Keir isn’t happy with anyone he thinks might be overshadowing him.
A Labour insider said Sir Keir Starmer’s office ‘went nuts’ and instilled a media ban after Dr Rosena Allin-Khan travelled to Ukraine and gave television interviews from the war zone
‘When Rosena went on a visit to the Ukraine and did some interviews, his office went nuts. They banned her from doing any media work for weeks.’
Dr Allin-Khan has been cited as a contender to succeed Sir Keir in the event of a challenge, or if he steps down following Durham Constabulary’s investigation into allegations that he broke lockdown regulations.
The Tooting MP ran for the party’s deputy leadership in 2020. Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, Dr Allin-Khan travelled to Lviv to work as a humanitarian doctor.
From there she gave a prominent interview to the BBC’s Newsnight programme and said she was helping the charity MedGlobal.
Her £1,200 trip was funded by David Kogan, a former BBC executive who is a director of website LabourList.
Shadow health minister Dr Allin-Khan gave a prominent interview to the BBC’s Newsnight programme and said she was helping the charity MedGlobal during her visit to Ukraine
It is understood other Shadow Cabinet Ministers were told not to travel to the war-torn country unless on official visits.
When asked at the time if she should be in Ukraine, Dr Allin-Khan said she was there in her capacity as a doctor and ‘not here for political purposes’.
‘I am a mother, I am a doctor… I am seeing other people lose their children, and I just could not come with the organisation that is doing incredible work and that I’ve worked with for many years,’ she said.
A Labour source said: ‘The UK shows solidarity for Ukraine by parking party politics and standing united.
‘Labour shows we are ready for government by being serious when it comes to defence policy. Neither of those aims involves Shadow Cabinet freelancing on trips there.’
Last week Sir Keir told his Shadow Cabinet to stop calling him ‘boring’ behind his back, adding: ‘What’s boring is being in opposition.’
Sir Keir has been accused of being ‘boring’ amid concerns his polling lead is not high enough
A Shadow Cabinet veteran said: ‘The consensus is he’s a plank of wood. If he doesn’t deliver by conference, there’ll be a push to get rid of him.’
Concerns have been raised that Labour’s polling lead is not high enough in the wake of multiple threats to Boris Johnson’s leadership.
Former Labour Minister Lord Austin yesterday wrote in the Daily Mail: ‘Labour should be miles ahead and confident of winning the next election.
‘Instead, the party is barely in front of the Conservatives and Boris Johnson still beats Sir Keir when voters are asked who would make the best Prime Minister.’
A source from the Labour leader’s office said: ‘With Keir’s leadership, the Labour Party has changed. We are a patriotic party, an ally of Nato, and we are serious about our role in the UK’s support for Ukraine.’
Dr Allin-Khan declined to comment last night.