It is not the first time Mr Starmer has distanced himself from Tory policy. He has also defended the Human Rights Act against Tory plans to replace it.
Mr Starmer has a history of left-wing activism. As a student he edited a publication called Socialist Alternatives. Judicial activism worries conservatives and Starmer was seen to have taken an activist stance last year when he adopted new guidelines that appeared to accommodate assisted suicide. When The Guardian profiled him after his appointment in August 2008 he was reported as a "Labour supporter".
Mr Starmer is another example of Labour's dominance of "appointment-land"; a dominance that will continue even if the Labour party loses its Commons majority next year.