“We are shocked and angered”: Starmer and Rayner react to George Floyd killing in party staff email

Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have said they are “shocked and angered” about the police killing of George Floyd in an email sent to all Labour Party staff tonight.

In the correspondence, the new leader and deputy leader describe how they ”watched in horror as protestors peacefully exercising their right to protest have been met with force by police”.

The duo condemn the responses of both President Trump and the UK government to the police brutality seen in cities across the US.

They express “complete solidarity with those standing up against police brutality towards Black people” in both the US and UK.

Starmer and Rayner also specifically address BAME members of staff who are “sadly acutely aware of some of the issues raised by the George Floyd killing”.

The email reads: “We have been in touch with the BAME staff network and our doors are always open to staff who may need support or simply want to share their own experiences and views.“

The team vow to “continue and redouble” efforts to ensure that a Labour government can “stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with Black people and all people of colour”.

Below is the full text of the message from the Labour leadership team to party staff tonight.

Dear all

We wanted to write to you to directly address the death of George Floyd and the protests that have taken place across the United States and the rest of the world following his death.

We are shocked and angered by George Floyd’s death in police custody and we have watched in horror as protestors peacefully exercising their right to protest have been met with force by police. We are appalled by the response of President Trump and the failure of our own government to condemn his actions in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.

The death of George Floyd has yet again shone a light on the racism and hatred experienced by many across the world, including in our own country – but particularly the racism experienced by Black people across the world. Now is not the time to treat racism and its consequences in the United States as a unique phenomenon. Now more than ever, it is incumbent on all of us to face up to, understand and address the systemic racial discrimination that exists in our own communities, and especially to address the reality and impact of anti-Black racism raised by the Black Lives Matter movement across the world.

As socialists and anti-racists we stand in complete solidarity with those standing up against police brutality towards Black people and systemic racism and oppression across the United States, here in the United Kingdom and across the world.

We also want to take this opportunity to express our solidarity with BAME members of staff, and while these events affect us all, we appreciate that they are particularly difficult and distressing for our Black colleagues, who are sadly acutely aware of some of the issues raised by the George Floyd killing through their own lived experience here in the UK. We have been in touch with the BAME staff network and our doors are always open to staff who may need support or simply want to share their own experiences and views. We are your allies in this fight.

We all know what a difference Labour in government can make, as demonstrated by the response of our Labour government in Wales. We must continue and redouble our efforts to ensure a Labour government across the UK can stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with Black people and all people of colour across the UK.

George Floyd must not become just another name. His shocking death and the protests of recent days must become the catalyst for change. As we stand together with those protesting against racism and injustice in the United States, as the Labour Party we also recommit ourselves to building a better society and tackling the racism and injustice that exists here in the United Kingdom.

In solidarity,

Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner

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