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Starmer wishes he ‘addressed distant’ relationship with late father

Sir Keir Starmer has told Sky News his late father “would be proud” if he makes it into Number 10.

Speaking to the Politics Hub With Sophy Ridge, the Labour leader expanded on a connection which he has described as “distant” – saying he wishes he had “addressed” the distance in his relationship with his father before he died.

Sir Keir’s father – Rodney Starmer, known as Rod – was a toolmaker, who spent much of his time looking after the Labour leader’s ill mother.

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Josephine died in 2015 – just before Sir Keir became an MP – and Rod died in 2018, two years before their son took over the reins of the official opposition.

Sir Keir told Ridge: “My mum was very, very ill, and she needed somebody in her life who was totally committed to her health and would put her above everything else.

“My dad did that.”

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Josephine had a rare condition known as Still’s disease, a condition which leads to debilitating joint pain, week-long fevers and rashes.

Sir Keir said Rod would make sure he understood every medicine his mother was prescribed and how they interacted “to make sure it could never possibly go wrong”.

Acts of devotion like this and sleeping in the hospital when his mother was there put pressure on Keir Starmer’s relationship with his father.

“I suppose the emotional space was more squeezed than it might otherwise have been,” he said.

“That’s because he invested it all in my mum, and I probably should have addressed that before he passed.

“And I wish I had – but I didn’t.”

The Labour leader was asked how his father would feel if Sir Keir did make it to Downing Street.

He said: “He would be proud… He really had difficulty expressing pride, particularly to his children.”

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A visibly emotional Sir Keir told of a discovery he made after his father’s death, saying: “I found this folder of cuttings that he had kept of all the things I’ve ever achieved.

“He had a book of cuttings which he had hidden in the back of a cupboard, but he had cut them out and kept them. I didn’t know that.

“I wish I had known that so he would be proud in the way that I’m proud of my own children.”

Sir Keir, who has two teenage children, aged 13 and 15, told Ridge he has taken the lessons he learned from his relationship with Rod into raising his own family.

He told Ridge: “I make it a really important part of my life that I’m with my children.

“I do not want to be that bloke – and it usually is a bloke – who in 10 years says I wish I’d spent more time with my children.

“If you want to spend more time with your children, spend more time with your children.”

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This includes taking them to sports clubs and spending Friday nights together – a rule which the Starmer household is “very strict” about.

“Most importantly of all, when I walked through the front door, the baggage is left there, I’m dad, their dad, and most of the time that means that they can rip me about anything under the sun,” he said.

Sky News Source