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'I was not going to let that idiot stop me': Keir Starmer says he was determined to carry on after speech glitter-bombing
11 October 2023, 09:24 | Updated: 11 October 2023, 09:46
Sir Keir Starmer has said he was determined to 'roll up his sleeves' and continue with his speech at the Labour conference after a screaming protester glitter-bombed him.
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Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Sir Keir said there was a struggle as the man tried to pull him over on stage.
"I've waited four years and we have dragged out party to service to have this opportunity to speak, not just to the hall - the Labour Party members and activists - but to the country," he said.
"I was not going to let that idiot stop me from doing it."
He said as soon as the incident was over he took off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves and got on with the speech.
Sir Keir said he was determined to not go down or "relieve that podium".
"This party has worked night and day to get us into a position where we can speak to the country with confidence and I was not going to be put off by that idiot," he added.
Keir Starmer: 'I was not going to be put off by that idiot.'
The Labour leader compared the incident to a "five-a-side moment" where someone was trying to tackle the ball off him, saying he was "channelling the inner Arsenal".
Sir Keir was accosted as he climbed onto the stage to begin his keynote speech at the conference on Tuesday.
The heckler threw glitter over him before being removed from the stage by security guards.
The protester was heard shouting "true democracy is citizen-led".
The man was pinned to the ground and then carried away while shouting: “We are in crisis, we are in crisis. Our whole future is in jeopardy.”
He belonged to a Just Stop Oil-affiliated group called People Demand Democracy, who say they want a "fair, proportional voting system for Westminster elections and a permanent, legally-binding national House of Citizens, selected by democratic lottery."
Starmer covered in glitter by protester as he begins conference speech
Addressing Labour's approach to this year's party conference, Sir Keir said it was "confident but not complacent".
He explained that when he took over as leader, he had three things he wanted to do: change the party, show that the government and SNP in Scotland are "not fit to govern", and tell the country "if not them, then why us?"
He also spoke about Hamas' attack in Israel, saying Israel has the "right to defend herself".
"Hamas’ actions are terrorism and Israel has the right to defend herself," he said.
"Israel has the right to do everything it can to get those hostages back safe and sound. Hamas bears responsibility."
Sir Keir said the world has “obviously” witnessed terrorist acts carried out by Hamas.
“I’d call on all responsible states to call this out for what it is in utterly condemning these actions from Hamas,” he added.