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Sir Keir Starmer wishes he addressed 'distant' relationship with late father

Sir Keir Starmer has said that he wishes that he had “addressed” the “distance” in his relationship with his father before he died.

Speaking to Sky News, the Labour leader said his late father would be “proud” if he was elected Prime Minister.

Sir Keir’s father Rodney worked as a toolmaker while his mother Josephine worked as a nurse until she was diagnosed with Still’s disease, a rare form of arthritis that leads to debilitating join pain and rashes.

Josephine died in 2015, just two weeks before Sir Keir was elected MP for Holborn and St Pancras, while Rodney died three years later.

Sir Keir told Sky: “My mum was very, very ill, and she needed somebody in her life who was totally committed to her health and would put her above everything else.

“My dad did that.”

Sir Keir said that his father would ensure that he understood every medicine his mother was prescribed and often sleep in hospital while she was there, but that this put pressure on his relationship with his father.

“I suppose the emotional space was more squeezed than it might otherwise have been,” he said.

“That's because he invested it all in my mum, and I probably should have addressed that before he passed.

“And I wish I had - but I didn't.”

Asked how his father would feel if he was elected Prime Minister, Sir Keir said: “He would be proud... He really had difficulty expressing pride, particularly to his children.”

Sir Keir is married to Victoria, a solicitor, and the couple have two children.

The Labour leader has previously spoken out about the impact of the death of his mother, who used a wheelchair for much of Sir Keir’s childhood.

In a televised interview with Piers Morgan in 2021, Sir Keir also described his father as having a “real difficulty expressing his emotions”, and said he only once told him he was proud, after he passed his 11-plus exams.

“As I was growing up, there was a distance,” he said. “And what I’ve learned from my dad is, obviously a sense of duty, a strong sense of pride and dignity in work.”

Speaking through tears, Sir Keir said he did not get the chance to say all he wanted to say to his mother before her death. Asked what he would have liked to have told her, he said: “I love you.”