Who is Keir Starmer, the Labour leader who is set to win Britain’s July 4 election?

LONDON (AP) — Obedient, administrative, a bit boring — Keir Starmer Not anyone’s idea of ​​a controversial politician.

Labor hopes this is what Britain wants and needs after 14 turbulent years of Conservative rule. Starmer, the 61-year-old leader of the center-left party, is the most likely candidate to win the elections in the country. July 4 elections.

Starmer spent four years as opposition leader pulling his Social Democratic Party from the left towards the political centre. His message to voters is that a Labor government will bring change, of the kind that is reassuring rather than terrifying.

Starmer then said: “A vote for Labor is a vote for economic and political stability.” Prime Minister Rishi SunakHe called elections On May 22nd.

If opinion polls show Labor has a steady double-digit lead on election day, Starmer will become the first British Labor Prime Minister since 2010.

A lawyer who served as Attorney-General of England and Wales between 2008 and 2013, Starmer has been portrayed by opponents as a “left-handed lawyer from London”. He has been knighted for his role leading the Crown Prosecution Service, and Conservative opponents like to use his title, Sir Keir Starmer, to portray him as elitist and out of touch.

Starmer prefers to emphasize his credentials as an ordinary man and his humble roots – an implicit contrast to Sunak, the former Goldman Sachs banker who is married to a billionaire’s daughter.

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He loves football – and still plays the sport on weekends – and enjoys nothing more than watching Arsenal in the Premier League over a beer in his local pub. He and his wife Victoria, an occupational health professional, have two teenage children and strive to keep them out of the public eye.

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Starmer was born in 1963, the son of a toolmaker and a nurse who went by the name of Keir Hardie, the first leader of the Labour Party. One of four children, he grew up in a financially strapped family in a small town outside London.

“There have been tough times,” he said in his campaign launch speech. “I know what out-of-control inflation feels like, and how the rising cost of living can make you dread the mailman on the road: ‘Is he going to bring another bill we can’t afford?’”

“We chose the phone bill because when it was cut, it was always easier to do without it.”

Starmer’s mother suffered from a chronic illness, Still’s disease, which left her in pain, and Starmer said visiting her in hospital and helping with her care helped shape his strong support for the state-funded NHS.

He was the first in his family to go to university, studied law at Leeds and Oxford, and practiced human rights law before being appointed chief prosecutor.

He entered politics in his 50s and was elected to Parliament in 2015. He frequently disagreed with party leader Jeremy Corbyn, a hardline socialist, and at one point resigned from the party’s top team over disagreements, but agreed to act as Labour’s spokesman on Brexit. Under Corbyn’s leadership.

Starmer has faced repeated questions about this decision, and about urging voters to support Corbyn during the 2019 election.

He said that he wanted to stay and fight to change the Labor Party, considering that “leaders are temporary, but political parties are permanent.”

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After Corbyn led Labor to electoral defeats in 2017 and 2019 – the party’s worst result since 1935 – Labor chose Starmer to lead the rebuilding effort.

His leadership coincided with a turbulent period that saw Britain suffer through the Covid-19 pandemic, exit the European Union, absorb the economic shock of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and endure economic turmoil from Liz Truss A turbulent 49-day term as Prime Minister in 2022.

Voters are weary of a cost-of-living crisis, a wave of public sector strikes, and political turmoil that has prompted the Conservative Party to field two prime ministers within weeks in 2022 – Boris Johnson And gears – before installing Sunak to try to steady the ship.

Starmer imposed discipline on a party with a reputation for internal division, abandoning some of Corbyn’s more overtly socialist policies and apologizing for the anti-Semitism that an internal investigation concluded he had allowed to spread under Corbyn.

Starmer promised a “cultural change in the Labor Party”. His slogan now is “Country before Party.”

Starmer was a strong opponent of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, although he now says the Labor government will not seek to reverse that decision.

Critics say this shows a lack of political principle. Supporters say it is practical and respects the fact that British voters have little desire to revisit the divisive Brexit debate.

Now Starmer must convince voters that a Labour government can ease Britain’s chronic housing crisis and fix crumbling public services, especially the ailing health service – but without imposing tax increases or deepening public debt.

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To the dismay of some Labor supporters, he watered down his pledge to spend billions to invest in green technology, saying the Labor government would not borrow more to finance public spending.

“Many leftists will accuse him of betrayal and betrayal of socialist principles. “A lot of people on the right accuse him of floundering,” said Tim Bell, a political science professor at Queen Mary University of London.

“But, hey, if that’s what it takes to win, then I think that tells you something about Starmer’s character. He’ll do whatever it takes – and he’s done whatever it takes – to get into government.”

The party has risen in the polls under his leadership, which has helped keep Starmer’s internal critics on his side.

At the party conference in October, Starmer showed great enthusiasm, telling cheering delegates: “I grew up working class. I’ve been fighting all my life. And I’m not going to stop now.” He also showed remarkable composure when a protester rushed onto the stage and showered Starmer with glitter and glue.

Some have likened these elections to 1997, when Tony Blair led the Labor Party to a landslide victory after 18 years of Conservative rule.

Bell says Starmer lacks Blair’s charisma. But he said: “Given the turmoil that Britons have had to endure since the Brexit referendum in 2016, a little boredom wouldn’t go down badly, I think, with the public.”


Associated Press writer Danica Kirka contributed to this story.

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