Three deny public order offences after protest at Sir Keir Starmer’s home

Three people have denied public order offences after a pro-Palestine demonstration outside the home of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

On Tuesday demonstrators hung a banner outside Sir Keir’s house that read: “Starmer stop the killing,” surrounded by red hand prints.

Protesters then laid rows of children’s shoes in front of the door, something that has been done at a number of pro-Palestine protests to signify children killed in Gaza.

Leonorah Ward, 21, of Leeds, Zosia Lewis, 23, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Daniel Formentin, 24, of Leeds, have been charged with section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 and for breaching court bail.

The group that carried out the demonstration, known as Youth Demand, describes itself as a “new youth resistance campaign fighting for an end to genocide”.

Prosecutor David Burns told Westminster Magistrates’ Court the incident had “really affected” Sir Keir’s wife, Victoria, who had “returned from a shopping trip with her son”.

The protest meant she could not return to her home because she “felt intimidated”, Mr Burns said.

Ward and Formentin were dressed all in grey during the hearing on Wednesday, while Lewis appeared wearing a Youth Demand T-shirt.

In a video posted to X, formerly Twitter, Youth Demand called for a two-way arms embargo on Israel, saying that weapons manufactured in the UK were being “used to cause genocide”.

The same group sprayed Labour HQ with red paint on Monday and later claimed that 11 people had been arrested in relation to that incident.

The Government has faced increasing pressure to suspend arms export licences to Israel after seven aid workers, including three British nationals, were killed by an Israeli air strike.

Many MPs have also called on the Government to publish legal advice it has received on whether Israel is violating international law in Gaza, where more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since October 7.

Sir Keir has reiterated calls for the Government to publish the advice, and the party’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy, has said arms sales should be halted if there has been a “serious breach” of international law.

After the demonstration, Home Secretary James Cleverly tweeted: “There is no excuse for harassing and intimidating politicians and their families in their homes.”

On Tuesday Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose home was targeted by climate protesters last year, tweeted: “I don’t care what your politics are, no MP should be harassed at their own home. We cannot and will not tolerate this.”

District Judge Stephen Leake set a trial date of June 19 at the same court.

All three were granted conditional bail, ordering them not participate in any further protests, or to leave the county in which they live.