Victoria Starmer: Keir’s private partner with the calming role

The intense scrutiny placed on politicians, particularly budding prime ministers, is all part of the job. But those closest to them can be more reluctant to step into the limelight.

So far in this general election campaign Keir Starmer, widely expected to become PM on 5 July, has kept his family out of the spotlight and his wife Victoria has not been seen on the campaign trail at all.

While some say the Labour leader “would benefit from her support” as she would tell “people about the real Keir”, said the Daily Mail, it is apparent “her absence is very much part of her husband’s plan”.

But what do we know about Victoria Starmer?

‘Prefer a low-key life’

Victoria Starmer was “born and raised” in the constituency her husband now represents in Holborn and St Pancras, North London, said The Times. She attended Gospel Oak primary school before going on to the private Channing School in Highgate. She then went to Cardiff University and became president of the students’ union, “following in the footsteps of Neil Kinnock 30 years before”. However, she “never wanted to go into politics”.

She qualified as a solicitor in 2001 before switching careers to work in occupational health in the NHS. However, it was in the former occupation that she met Keir Starmer when he was working as a senior barrister and rang her “to interrogate about her work”, said Tatler. It was a “robust” start to their relationship. They married in 2007 and now live with their two children in a “£1.75 million townhouse in Kentish Town”.

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Victoria is Jewish and goes to the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John’s Wood. The family “uphold the Shabbat tradition of Friday-night dinners with family and friends as often as they can” despite Keir’s atheism.

She “would prefer a low-key life” and “doesn’t like to use her title” of Lady, which was “bestowed” when Keir received his knighthood. The couple have “given some thought to how their lives will work” if they do end up moving into Downing Street, said The Independent, and there seems to be plans that they will be “at the ‘no publicity’ end of the spectrum of recent prime ministers”.

A public-facing role?

However, while many prime ministers have started off aiming for a private family life, “the relationship with the media never works out quite as planned”. The Starmers are known to be very “protective” of their children’s identities, with a “no names, no photos” rule. However, there will “have to be a public-facing role” for Victoria, even if it is “just holding Keir’s hand at big events”, the paper added.

Victoria, who “appears to live a happy and productive life” and is aiming to maintain much of it despite her husband’s potential status, is already getting criticised, said Catherine Bennett in The Guardian. While a politician’s wife has often been criticised for “getting above herself”, Victoria is seemingly being “goaded for its suspected opposite” by the “rightwing press”.

She is likely to continue to stay out of “day-to-day issues”, even if Keir does become prime minister, said The Times. While she is the “one he rings before making a final big decision”, her key role is how she “soothes over” the “damaged fragile egos” and the “fractured relationships that can happen in politics”.

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With the Labour leader known to trust “almost no one in politics and the media” and his “impatience at politics” being already visible, Victoria’s “calming role may be important to all of us over the coming years”.

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