A FORMER Labour MP has labelled Keir Starmer “shameful” for his stance on a ceasefire in the Middle East. 

Chris Mullin served as the MP for Sunderland South from 1987 to 2010 and is heading to the Winter Words Festival in Pitlochry to discuss the release of his latest diaries – Didn’t You Use to Be Chris Mullin? – next month.

He also worked as a journalist and is known for his campaign that resulted in the release of the Birmingham Six – a group of men who were wrongly convicted of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings.  

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer urged to recognise state of Palestine

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday National, he talked about his views on the current Labour leader and his stance on Gaza as well as why he chose to keep a diary after retiring.

Thoughts on Starmer

Last month, Starmer joined calls for a “sustainable ceasefire” in Israel's war on Palestine – he has faced ongoing criticism over his weak stance on the issue . 

He saw a wave of resignations from his top team after they backed the SNP’s calls for a ceasefire while a number of local officials have also stepped down.

The SNP's Westminster leader Stephen Flynn (below) meanwhile has previously labelled the idea of a "sustainable ceasefire" as a "word scramble".

The National: SNP Westminster group leader Stephen Flynn speaking during Prime Minister's Questions

Asked about Starmer’s stance on a ceasefire, Mullin told the Sunday National: “I think it’s rather shameful. I do.

“What happened on October 7 was very terrible and cannot be justified in any way but unfortunately all this didn’t start on October 7, it really started years ago.

“The Israeli retaliation is on a scale which can’t possibly be justified and frankly I think the Labour leader should be saying that.”

We told last week how Starmer (below) was slammed after appearing to shift his stance on a ceasefire.

The National:

In December, he argued against this on the grounds it would be “very difficult” to achieve when Hamas still held Israeli hostages.

But last week, he said that a ceasefire would provide the conditions for the release of hostages.

The Labour leader also came in for criticism after saying a future Labour government wouldn’t immediately recognise Palestinian statehood as he insisted his party was committed to a "two-state solution". 

"Recognition has to be part of a process, and an appropriate part of the process," Starmer told The Jewish Chronicle

It’s not the first time Mullin has hit out at Starmer, as he also accuses him of “moral cowardice” over the expulsion of Jeremy Corbyn in the new memoir.

“I do deprecate his treatment of Corbyn which is about integrity in my view. My take on Corbyn, for what it’s worth – and I didn’t vote for him in either of the leadership elections and I thought he’d be a hopeless prime minister – but I’ve known him for 40 years and he’s a thoroughly decent human being,” he said.

“I think he’s been treated appallingly.”

New memoirs

His latest memoirs mark something a little different for Mullin, having previously published three others as well as a number of novels.

These latest memoirs begin in 2010 – the same year he retired as an MP – and so come from the perspective of someone from the outside looking in.  

READ MORE: Keir Starmer U-turns on policy to recognise Palestinian state

“I’m no longer in the tent, but I’m not quite out of it. I have a lot of contacts in the world of politics and there’s more in the book than just politics,” he explained.

“When I retired in 2010, I initially gave up keeping a diary for a while thinking it wouldn’t be of interest but it actually is quite interesting.

“The reason for the rather unusual title is that I was going round Westminster about two years after I retired and a colleague asked me, ‘didn’t you use to be Chris Mullin?’, so that did for the title of volume four.

“It has a broader perspective than when I had a front row seat at Westminster or in government.”

He adds that it charts the “rise and inevitable fall” of Boris Johnson (below) and Corbyn before ending with the death of the Queen.

The National:

Asked about keeping a diary, he said: “I am a writer by profession so it comes natural. But yes, certainly when we were in government and you had to be cautious about what you said, it was therapeutic.

“I could write down what I heard and saw and what I actually thought.”

The former MP is due to head to the Pitlochry Winter Words Festival to speak about his new book on February 10 and tickets are still available HERE.

“Since I retired this has been one of the great blessings. I’ve spoken at more than 200 festivals from Shetland to Cornwall and many places in between and I love it,” Mullin added.

“You meet lots of nice people who are always glad to see you.”

Didn’t You Use to Be Chris Mullin? is available to buy now and more information about the Winter Words Festival can be found HERE.