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ANNA MIKHAILOVA: The next blonde bruiser taking on Keir Starmer? His ex!

Having come a cropper during last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is set for another bruising encounter with a far more accomplished blonde adversary – his former lover.

Phillippa Kaufmann QC, the distinguished human rights barrister, and Starmer QC, a former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), could face off at the long-running public inquiry into misconduct by undercover police officers.

The pair were a star couple in the liberal legal firmament during the 1990s, in love with the law and each other as they worked at Doughty Street chambers, now home to Amal Clooney

At a time when police infiltration of Left-wing activists was at its height, they vigorously defended victims of police abuse, State power and big corporations.

Phillippa Kaufmann QC (pictured), the distinguished human rights barrister, and Starmer QC, a former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), could face off at the long-running public inquiry into misconduct by undercover police officers

Having come a cropper during last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is set for another bruising encounter with a far more accomplished blonde adversary – his former lover. Phillippa Kaufmann QC (right), the distinguished human rights barrister, and Starmer QC, a former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), could face off at the long-running public inquiry into misconduct by undercover police officers

Although the relationship ended and both happily married others, they remained good friends and continued taking cases together. 

But when Starmer became DPP in 2008, conflict appeared in their professional relationship as Kaufmann continued sticking it to police, spooks and special forces while he became a security establishment servant, before turning to politics.

Her £5,000 donation to his 2020 Labour leadership campaign is non-refundable but she is likely to make him pay if her 200-plus clients, who were spied on and bedded by undercover cops, get their way. 

Kaufmann is a lead barrister at the Undercover Policing Inquiry set up by Theresa May in 2014 (cost so far: £36 million). 

Campaigners put on trial when Starmer was DPP want to know what he knew about the undercover cops in their camp and beds. 

He believes he has nothing more to disclose and is surely reluctant to be cross-examined by his old comrades-in-arms. 

That’s not unreasonable as Kaufmann gives no quarter – she led a walk-out of the inquiry in 2018 because Sir John Mitting, judge in charge, was seen as too pro-police.

The reluctance witnesses… Liz and Kemi 

I hear it’s handbags at dawn between the Women and Equalities committee and the Ministers in charge of the brief. 

MPs are furious that Liz Truss and Kemi Badenoch seem to be dodging requests to appear before them. 

Liz Truss

Kemi Badenoch

I hear it’s handbags at dawn between the Women and Equalities committee and the Ministers in charge of the brief. MPs are furious that Liz Truss (l) and Kemi Badenoch (r) seem to be dodging requests to appear before them

The committee has a major report on women and the pandemic out this week, but sources claim Equalities Minister Badenoch is ‘disinterested’ and stretched by her split brief as Treasury Minister. 

She did, though, find time to write a lengthy Twitter thread admonishing a journalist for daring to ask her a question. 

Great to see the Home Office has put former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Hogan-Howe in charge of investigating how 400,000 DNA, fingerprints and arrest records accidentally disappeared from police databases

Great to see the Home Office has put former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Hogan-Howe in charge of investigating how 400,000 DNA, fingerprints and arrest records accidentally disappeared from police databases

Great to see the Home Office has put former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Hogan-Howe in charge of investigating how 400,000 DNA, fingerprints and arrest records accidentally disappeared from police databases. 

He previously probed the scandalous ‘mass shredding’ of police intelligence files about bent cops, which only came to light in 2014 following a barrister-led inquiry into whether corruption had contaminated the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.

It occurred well before Hogan-Howe was appointed commissioner, but two months into his probe he told unimpressed MPs that he still hadn’t read a summary report of the intelligence destroyed, nor asked his two predecessors, Lords Stevens and Blair, why it happened.

Hogan-Howe did preside over the Met when it destroyed documents after the public inquiry into undercover policing was announced. 

Just the man to get to the bottom of the missing 400,000 records…

As her department grapples with the Treasury to keep the £1,040-a-year Universal Credit uplift, Employment Minister Mims Davies reveals she spent nearly double that amount on a flashy fitness bike. 

She told the Spectator’s Women With Balls podcast about buying a £1,750 Peloton, just like Rishi ‘man of the people’ Sunak’s. 


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