SIR KEIR Starmer declared the tearing down of a statue in Bristol in “lawless” protests across the UK was “completely wrong”.
The Labour Leader also admitted the debate on Brexit was “settled” and the country needed to move forward after leaving the EU.
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Sir Keir told LBC the tearing down of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol was “completely wrong”.
He said: “It shouldn’t have been done in that way. It was completely wrong to pull a statue down like that.
“Nobody should condone the lawlessness, if the statue is coming down, it shouldn’t come down in that way – there is no question of that.”
Shocking footage from the Black Lives Matter protests in Bristol, sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a cop in Minneapolis, showed people toppling down the statue, before dragging it to the harbour and pushing it into the water.
Protesters in London defaced a statue of Winston Churchill, labelling him a “racist”
Sir Keir also handed Brexiteers a victory, admitting the debate over leaving the European Union was over – and the country needed to move forward.
He said: “It’s no secret I voted remain and campaigned for remain.
“But we have left the EU and therefore it is very important for me to say the leave-remain divide is over.
“It is gone. The argument now is what the future relationship with the EU should look like and our relationships and deals with the rest of the world.
“We argued over leave-remain for three and a half years, it’s over, we have left.
“It’s very important I think for someone like me to acknowledge that.”
While Sir Keir condemned the protesters pulling down the statue and dumping it in the harbour, he said there should not have been a place in 21st century Britain for a statue of a famous slave trader.
He said: “Stepping back, that statue should have been taken down a long time ago.
“In 21st century Britain you can’t have a slaver as a statue – a statue is to honour people.
“And you can’t have that in 21st century Britain, but that statue should have been brought down properly with consent.
“This was a man who was responsible for 100,000 people being removed from Africa to the Caribbean as slave, including women and children who were branded on their chests with the name of the company
“Of the 100,000 (people), 20,000 died on route and they were chucked in the sea.”
Sir Keir said Edward Colston’s place in history should be remembered in a museum but not honoured in the city centre.
The Prime Minister lashed out at protesters, calling the violence and vandalism “thuggery” and accused them of betraying their own cause.
His comments come after Labour MP Nadia Whittome said she “celebrated” the “act of resistance” of pulling the statue down.
She wrote on Twitter: “We need a movement that will tear down systemic racism and the slave owner statues that symbolise it.”
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