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UK: Keir Starmer received £20,000 'glo-up' donations from Muslim peer

Waheed Alli, a former TV executive and chairman of clothing firm Asos, provided money for the Labour leader's wardrobe and fashion accessories
Waheed Alli was made a peer by Tony Blair (Creative Commons)
Waheed Alli was made a peer by Tony Blair (Creative Commons)

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer received close to £20,000 ($25,600) in donations from a Muslim peer in order to refresh his wardrobe in the run-up to the 4 July UK general election that put him in power.

Waheed Alli, a member of the UK's upper chamber, the House of Lords, gave more than £16,000 to Starmer for work clothes and more than £2,000 for accessories, such as sunglasses, the Independent reported.

Alli, who is one of the UK's most prominent gay Muslims and has been a lifelong Labour supporter, is considered to be a Blairite in his political outlook. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair nominated Alli for his peerage.

Of Indo-Caribbean descent, Alli was born in London to a Trinidadian Muslim father and Guyanese Hindu mother.

He is most notable for his career as a TV executive during which he co-created the hit reality TV show Survivor.

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He was also a founding investor and former chairman of the popular online clothing company ASOS.

According to the Financial Times, Alli has been a key player within Starmer's circle for bringing in private donations and making the party less reliant on funding from unions.

Sunday Times journalist Gabriel Pogrund noted on X that Alli was seen in 10 Downing Street when Starmer took office on Friday.

Alli is close to Starmer and Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner, Pogrund noted, posting that the peer was "expected to play a big behind-the-scenes role in the coming years".

Starmer and the Muslim community

Despite winning a landslide number of parliamentary seats in last week's vote, Starmer has been haemorrhaging support within Muslim communities.

The party lost against four independent Muslim candidates in traditionally Labour-voting seats due to its stance on the conflict in Gaza.

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Starmer was an early and strong supporter of Israel's military campaign on the Palestinian enclave following the 7 October Hamas-led attack, even appearing to back Israel's refusal to allow food, water, electricity and other essentials to enter the territory.

The policy, which is a violation of international law, has resulted in widespread suffering in Gaza, including malnutrition, as well as death from starvation and disease.

Israel has killed more than 38,000 Palestinians since October. However, the toll of all deaths related to the war may be as high as 186,000, according to the medical journal, The Lancet.

Starmer has since softened his stance and his party is now calling for a ceasefire. Since his election, the UK has dropped an objection to the application by the International Criminal Court for arrest warrants targeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

Starmer also appointed lawyer Richard Hermer as his attorney general.

In October, Hermer was amongst eight prominent Jewish lawyers who wrote a letter urging Israel to remember its “international obligations” during its military offensive in Gaza. 

He also told the LBC radio station at the time that Israel’s siege on electricity, water and food in Gaza was likely in breach of international law. 

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