The Labour leader was caught off-guard just before starting his keynote speech at his party’s conference in Liverpool on Tuesday when a stranger dropped glitter on him.
While Starmer looked startled and the crowd began booing, the protester (since named as Extinction Rebellion member Yaz Ahmawi) put his arm around the Labour leader and shouted that “true democracy is citizen-led”.
He was dragged off stage – and later arrested – while Starmer seemed to shake the incident off and carry on with his speech, although glitter was still visible in his hair.
Marr said: “It was quite a shocking moment that. Did you have a moment when you thought you might have to run up and rescue him?”
I thought I was going to do a full John Prescott at one point,” Rayner replied, referring to the one-time Labour deputy leader who punched a protester after they egged him at a 2001 rally.
Rayner continued: “Although Rachel was nearly beating me to it. She’s Leeds – I’ve never seen her be so angry.”
A snippet of the incident shared by LBC’s The News Agents shows Labour’s front bench reacted in absolute fury.
Reeves can be heard (twice) shouting: “For God’s sake!”
Rayner also told Marr: “It’s true and Keir handled it really well because look, the party has changed. We’re not here to protest. We’re here to govern.”
Speaking immediately after the protester was removed, Starmer said: “If he thinks that bothers me he doesn’t know me.
“Protest or power, that’s why we’ve changed.”