Starmer worries about toll of election on his children

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Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer praised the support of his wife Victoria Starmer
By Thomas Mackintosh
BBC News

Sir Keir Starmer admits he worries about the toll of a general election year on his two teenage children.

The Labour leader said he and his wife, Victoria Starmer, have tried to keep their 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter out of the public eye.

But he called for a general election “as soon as possible”, saying that he wanted the fight.

It comes after Rishi Sunak said it was his “working assumption” he would call one in the second half of the year.

Mr Starmer told Sky News’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips programme the “country is ready” to go to the ballot boxes.

He also said he was committed to Labour’s £28bn green investment plan, accusing the Tories of weaponising the issue.

Speaking about a row over borrowing to invest in new energy technology and jobs, he said: “If they want that fight, bring it on.”

Mr Starmer was asked on the programme about how much support he owes to his family and wife.

“Oh everything” Mr Starmer answered. “Absolutely everything. Vic, my wife, is fantastic – she is my complete support and partner in this.

“She doesn’t do anything publicly, she just wants to get on with her job. She works for the NHS.”

Mr Starmer said he talks through “all the big decisions” with his wife – but admitted he is concerned about the potential publicity around his two teenage children.

He added: “When I finished as chief prosecutor, as director of public prosecutions and was thinking about going into politics she was ringing other job adverts to go and carry on doing something in law.

“So, she didn’t necessarily sign up to it, but she is absolutely centrally part of it. We’ve waited a long time for 2024, I am really glad this year is here.

“I want this fight, the only thing which keeps me up at night is our children because they are 13 and 15.

“Those are difficult ages – it will impact them. We don’t name them in public. We don’t do photographs with them and they go to the local school.

“I am desperately trying to protect them in that way, but I know it is going to be hard and I do worry about that.”

The PM appears to rule out holding a general election in the spring

Mr Starmer also mocked the prime minister over his election date claiming Mr Sunak was putting “vanity before country”. The latest the next election could legally be held is 28 January 2025, but Mr Sunak has yet to confirm the timing.

“If he had a plan, he would set the date and he should set the date because at the moment it is very hard to see how him continuing in government improves the lives of anybody in the country, so there is drift,” Mr Starmer said.

“And so my challenge to him would be: if you’ve got a plan, set the date.

“If you haven’t got a plan, just get on with it as quickly as possible.”

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