Sir Keir Starmer has released a photo of himself taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Labour leader tweeted the picture of him and deputy leader Angela Rayner kneeling on the floor of a meeting room in parliament, with the caption: “We kneel with all those opposing anti-Black racism. #BlackLivesMatter.”
Labour MP Dawn Butler, former shadow women and equalities secretary, also posted a picture of her taking a knee with a group of women outside parliament, with a quote from Martin Luther King.
Their tweets came as the family and friends of George Floyd gathered for his funeral in Houston, Texas, two weeks after his death in police custody sparked worldwide protests.
African-American Mr Floyd was killed after white officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while arresting him in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 25 May.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the Black Lives Matter protests at his cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, telling them there is “so much more to do in eradicating prejudice and creating opportunity”.
Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The PM began cabinet by discussing the anger and the grief that is not just felt in the US but around the world including the UK following the death of George Floyd.
“He said those who lead and govern simply cannot ignore the depth of emotion that has been triggered.
“The PM said there was an undeniable feeling of injustice and that people from black and minority ethnic groups do face discrimination in education, in employment and in the application of criminal law.
“The PM said we’re a much, much less racist society than we were but we must also frankly acknowledge that there’s so much more to do in eradicating prejudice and creating opportunity.”
He also reiterated that protesters who break social distancing rules or attack public property or police “will face the full force of the law”.
Less than 24 hours earlier, demonstrators in Bristol pulled down the statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston and pushed it into Bristol Harbour.
Sir Keir said it was the “wrong” way to take it down but said it “should have been taken down a long, long time ago”.
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