Idris Elba Joins Keir Starmer at the Lyric Theatre

Labour leader in Hammersmith to meet families of knife crime victims

Idris Elba (left) with Sir Keir Starmer (right)

June 26, 2024

The leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer visited Hammersmith this Tuesday (25 June) to meet with the families of people who had been the victim of knife crime.

He was joined by film actor Idris Elba who earlier this year launched a campaign"Don't Stop Your Future," calling for increased urgency in tackling the issue.

They heard from Pastor Lorraine Jones who saw her son, Dwayne Simpson, killed by a single stab wound through the heart ten years ago. She told them that she had remained in the Brixton area even after her loss because it was “like a battlefield I can’t retreat from”.

She added that although members of the community were volunteering to help patrol the streets, they needed more help from the police.

Pooja Kanda, who lost her son Ronan in Wolverhampton in 2022 said a ban on zombie knives such as that killed Dwayne should have been introduced after her death and that could have saved Ronan.

Idris Elba told her he had the same thing from young people adding, “I’ve had conversations which are difficult, like ‘Idris, you’re telling people to put away our knives, but what am I going to hold?’.

“And I feel like I don’t know what to say to them, because they’re literally holding these out of fear. But they have solutions.”

After the meeting, the actor posted on Instagram that this was not a political issue but that more discussion between families of victims and campaign organisations was needed to work towards a solution.

Elba and Starmer both said it was 'difficult to hear' what the families had to say
Elba and Starmer both said it was 'difficult to hear' what the families had to say

The Labour leader said that what the families had to say was ‘difficult to hear’ but ‘it’s very important that it is heard from beginning to end.’ Describing it as a ‘moral mission’ he committed to introduce an immediate ban on online sales of zombie knives if elected.

During his visit he was given a guided tour of the theatre in which he heard about the company’s programmes for young people and viewed rehearsals of forthcoming musical Fangirls. He said afterwards, “I have had the pleasure of visiting Lyric Hammersmith Theatre – a cultural venue deeply embedded into its local West London community through their work on stage as well as extensive creative engagement with young people.

“The Lyric’s commitment to supporting their local community is testament to the positive impact a thriving theatre sector can and does make in our country.”

The theatre’s Executive Director, Amy Belson, said “Theatres across the country play a vital role in their local community and I hope we are supported by the next government to continue to grow as an industry.”


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