Keir Starmer will give keynote speech to Labour Friends of Israel lunch
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Keir Starmer will give keynote speech to Labour Friends of Israel lunch

Labour leader confirmed as guest of honour for the event due to take place in November

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer has agreed to give the keynote speech at the annual Labour Friends of Israel lunch.

The Labour leader has been confirmed as guest of honour for the event, which is scheduled to take place in November at a venue in central London.

Sources say Starmer took little convincing to accept the invitation to speak at the lunch.

It is the first time a Labour leader has addressed LFI’s lunch event since Ed Miliband delivered a speech in 2014.

In 2018, Issac Herzog spoke at the prestigious event as chair of the Jewish Agency.

Former Labour deputy Tom Watson and ex-foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has also spoke at past lunches.

Relations between LFI and previous Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn rapidly deteriorated.

Corbyn delivered a speech at LFI’s annual event at the Labour Party conference in 2016 – but the following year he pointedly pulled out appearing at the same event.

Last year’s lunch was cancelled due to the impact of the pandemic, while the 2019 event was postponed due to the general election.

Organisers of this year’s lunch are confident it will go ahead, but have
have contingencies in place to ensure that it will go ahead as a smaller gathering or online if the Covid virus causes further changes to social distancing measures.

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