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Sir Keir Starmer speaks of sharing debate frustration with his wife Victoria

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria (PA)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria (PA)

Sir Keir Starmer has revealed his wife cheered him up after a frustrating experience with the first election television debate opposite Rishi Sunak on ITV.

The Labour leader said his wife Victoria had not featured heavily in the General Election campaign as she was focused on her work in occupational health in the NHS, and on supporting their son through his GCSEs.

Sir Keir, who is very private about his family life, would also not be drawn into saying whether he would move his children into Downing Street if Labour wins the election.

General Election campaign 2024
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during LBC’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast show (Aaron Chown/PA)

Speaking during an LBC radio call-in event, the Labour leader was asked by host Nick Ferrari about his wife.

“She is very plain speaking and very down to earth. She is very supportive,” he said.

Asked if she ever gave him advice, Sir Keir said: “After the first debate I was slightly frustrated because I didn’t think the 45 seconds to answer a question really worked for me. I know why the programme set it up in that way.

“So I was pretty sort of – ‘argh!’ – frustrated. I am not good company when I am in that place. But Vic cheered me up on that one.”

Asked why she was not more often in the public eye, the Labour leader said: “Vic does quite a bit with me, but during this campaign two things: One, she is working at the NHS in a hospital.

“Two, and I don’t make a lot of this, is our boy has been doing his GCSEs and therefore we took the decision that whilst I was out and about on the road, we wanted to create the environment where he could study calmly in ordinary circumstances.”

Sir Keir said his son had finished his exams on Friday.

He had earlier answered a caller’s question about small boats crossings by speaking about his experience of visiting a migrant camp in Calais some years ago.

Speaking about the visit during a “dark and freezing February”, Sir Keir said: “I saw two children the same age as my children go into a tent at about 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon to sleep because there was no electricity.

“I then… came back home and I looked in on my children both in their separate bedrooms with the central heating on, sleeping soundly, and as a human being that went right through me, because nobody but nobody should be in that situation.”

General Election campaign 2024
Nick Ferrari and Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (Aaron Chown/PA)

Following this, he was asked if he would move his children into No 10 if Labour wins the election.

“We are not getting ahead of ourselves,” Sir Keir said.

The Labour leader also shared with LBC that his first car was a Morris Minor, which he bought with £125.

Sir Keir said he still had a car, and had “never not had a car” since passing his driving test on his second attempt.

Referencing press photographs of Rishi Sunak filling up a Kia Rio reportedly borrowed from a Sainsbury’s worker, Sir Keir added: “We do fill up our own car Nick.”