Keir Starmer entered politics in 2015 as the MP for Holborn and St Pancras

New Delhi:

In May 2024, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made a surprise snap election announcement. Now, the UK will vote on July 4 and the focus, apart from the Prime Minister’s Conservative Party, is on Keir Starmer, the Labour Party’s candidate and the leader of the opposition. Mr Starmer is not a firebrand politician, but the Labour Party believes his steady and dependable leadership is exactly what Britain needs after 14 years of Conservative rule. At 61, Mr Starmer is favourite to win the upcoming election.

Here are some facts about Keir Starmer:

1. Keir Starmer was born on September 2, 1962, in Oxted, Surrey, in a working-class family. His mother, a dedicated NHS nurse, battled a rare and severe case of rheumatoid arthritis, while his father worked as a toolmaker. Mr Starmer attended Reigate Grammar School and was the first in his family to attend university. He studied Law at Leeds University.

2. Before he ventured into politics, Mr Starmer was a distinguished human rights defence lawyer. Dubbed a “lefty lawyer” for his commitment to social justice, he began his career in 1987 as a barrister and co-founded Doughty Street Chambers in 1990. He specialised in human rights cases, representing clients through legal aid and pro bono work. His expertise earned him a Queen’s Counsel (QC) appointment in 2002 and recognition as QC of the Year. Mr Starmer represented the “McLibel Two” in their landmark defamation suit against McDonald’s. He also travelled to the Caribbean and Africa to represent defendants facing the death penalty. He also challenged the Tony Blair government’s invasion of Iraq, drafting legal arguments against the war.

3. Mr Starmer was the legal advisor to the Northern Ireland Policing Board for five years from 2003 to 2008. This was a critical time in the region’s history, following the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, which was a significant step towards peace after decades of conflict. During this time, he met his wife, Victoria, who was working for the National Health Service (NHS). The couple got married in 2007 and have two children.

4. In 2008, Mr Starmer was appointed Director of Public Prosecutions, leading the Crown Prosecution Service and managing its thousands of employees. During his tenure, he handled several high-profile cases, including the Stephen Lawrence murder case. His contributions to criminal justice were recognised with a knighthood conferred by the late Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2014.

5. Keir Starmer entered politics in 2015 as the MP for Holborn and St Pancras, quickly taking on key roles in the Labour Party. He served as Shadow Immigration Minister from 2015 to 2016. Following Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation in 2019, Mr Starmer was elected the Labour Party leader in 2020. Mr Starmer promised a culture change; his mantra — the country before the party. He opposed Britain’s decision to leave the European Union but clarified that a Labour government would not rejoin the group, which now has 27 members. If elected as the country’s Prime Minister, Mr Starmer promises to bring stability and change.

The Labour Party’s manifesto focuses on key initiatives such as hiring 6,500 new teachers, expanding childcare and providing free breakfast clubs in primary schools. They aim to improve economic security by creating more stable jobs, reforming Universal Credit and strengthening housing regulations. The manifesto also talks about support for mental health in schools, reforming social care and advancing equality for women, ethnic minorities, disabled individuals and the LGBT+ community.

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