Tory ‘Better Call Keir’ ad faces backlash as lawyers criticise attempt to spotlight Labour leader’s barrister background

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By Rhys Duncan on


Posted to X

The Conservative Party’s likening of Labour leader Keir Starmer to Saul Goodman from popular US TV show Better Call Saul has come under fire from lawyers on X.

The incident began at Prime Minister’s questions on Wednesday when PM Rishi Sunak raised Starmers actions in giving legal advice to Hizb ut-Tahri, a group that the Home Secretary has sought this week to have proscribed as a terrorist organisation by parliament.

This occurred, Labour said, before Starmer became Director of Public Prosecutions back in 2008, with the leader of the opposition providing advice to the group, although not representing them.

The Tories didn’t back down, however, taking to X with an ad likening Starmer to Saul Goodman, the fictitious criminal lawyer played by Bob Oberdink.

“When Rishi Sunak sees a group chanting jihad on our streets, he bans them. Keir Starmer invoices them”, the post reads, with the image adopting the tagline “are you a terrorist in need of legal advice? Better call Keir”.

The post has, however, faced significant criticism from lawyers.

“If you’re a Conservative barrister, and you take the cab rank rule and the rule against turning down clients based on their characteristics/views seriously: what do you think of your party making these attacks on Keir Starmer’s legal career?” posted barrister David Green, with criminal lawyer CrimeGirl adding; “Who wrote this? A nine year old?”

The Secret Barrister also weighed in, saying:

The post comes barely a week after the new Bar Council chair Sam Townend KC urged politicians to speak out against political attacks on lawyers in his inaugural speech.

“…[I]n circumstances where the level of public legal education and understanding in this country remains so poor, some public words by leading Conservative and Labour lawyer politicians to deprecate such attacks and to help to explain the role of lawyers would be extremely welcome,” he said.

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