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Keir Starmer: New British Prime Minister and his stance on Ukraine

Keir Starmer: New British Prime Minister and his stance on Ukraine Keir Starmer, new British Prime Minister (Photo: Getty Images)

For the first time in 14 years, the opposition Labour Party has won most seats in the UK Parliament. This means that its 61-year-old leader, Keir Starmer, will become the new head of the British government, replacing Rishi Sunak.

RBC-Ukraine has gathered information about who Keir Starmer is and his position on Ukraine.


Keir Starmer - early years

Sir Keir Rodney Starmer was born in London on September 2, 1962. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to the town of Oxted. His mother worked in the National Health Service, and his father worked in a tool factory, which the politician often mentioned during his election campaign. According to open sources, his parents, who were staunch leftists, named their son after Keir Hardie, who founded the Labour Party in 1893. However, Starmer claimed in one of his interviews that there is no evidence since he never discussed it with his parents.

During his childhood, he attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he received a scholarship and was a skilled flutist. Additionally, Starmer received the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award. He was the first member of his family to attend college.

Starmer later graduated from the University of Leeds with a Bachelor of Arts in Law and then studied law at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Civil Law degree.

Lawyer, professional career

In 1987, he was called to the Bar and specialized in human rights, working under Helena Kennedy and Geoffrey Robertson. By 1990, he worked at the human rights organization Liberty and then at the barristers' chambers Doughty Street Chambers, continuing to focus on human rights. Starmer also worked at the Human Rights Centre at Essex University as a human rights advisor to the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

In 2002, Starmer was appointed Queen's Counsel, and from 2008 to 2013, he headed the Crown Prosecution Service as the Director of Public Prosecutions. While working as a lawyer, he met his wife, Victoria, whom he married in 2007. They have two children together (a son and a daughter).

Keir Starmer: New British Prime Minister and his stance on Ukraine

Photo: Keir Starmer - former human rights lawyer (Getty Images)

Before starting his political career, Sir Starmer earned an excellent reputation as a lawyer, primarily dealing with human rights issues. Notably, he participated in the landmark McLibel case - a notorious lawsuit between McDonald's and two environmental activists, Helen Steel and David Morris. The fight centered around a pamphlet distributed by the pair titled "What's Wrong with McDonald's?: Everything They Don't Want You to Know," which contained numerous allegations against the company, including claims of worker exploitation, deforestation, promoting unhealthy eating habits, and neglecting animal welfare.

Starmer is an avid football fan and used to play at an amateur level for a North London team called Homerton Academicals. He also supports the English Premier League club Arsenal.

Political career

By 2015, Starmer was elected to the House of Commons for the London constituency of Camden, receiving 52.9% of the vote. The following year, in October, then Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn reshuffled his shadow cabinet, appointing Starmer as the Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

Keir Starmer: New British Prime Minister and his stance on Ukraine

Photo: Starmer will be the 7th Labour leader to head the government in the last millennium (Getty Images)

By September 2019, at the Labour conference, Starmer unsuccessfully sought to position the party unequivocally for the UK's continued EU membership, contradicting Corbyn's "neutral" stance. Following Labour's catastrophic defeat in the parliamentary elections in December of that year, political analysts began naming Starmer among the likely successors to Jeremy Corbyn. During this period, there was a controversy surrounding Starmer's Wikipedia entry in the English section. Over two days, the statement that Starmer was a millionaire was added and removed three times due to the lack of an authoritative source (Starmer and his associates denied involvement in the events). In 2020, he became the leader of the Labour Party after Corbyn stepped down.

Starmer was a staunch opponent of the UK's decision to leave the European Union but now claims that a Labour government will not seek to reverse this decision.

Position on Ukraine

Last February, the British opposition Labour Party leader made an unannounced visit to Kyiv. This was his first visit to the capital of Ukraine. During this visit, he went to Bucha, one of the sites of Russian war crimes during the full-scale aggression.

Keir Starmer: New British Prime Minister and his stance on Ukraine

Photo: The leader of the British Labour Party visited Bucha and Irpin in 2023 (Getty Images)

"It is incredible to see the evidence of the atrocities I saw this morning. Photos of civilians on the outskirts of Kyiv with blindfolds and hands tied behind their backs. There must be justice in The Hague, and there must be proper compensation for the reconstruction of Ukraine," stated the leader of the British opposition.

He also met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The parties discussed the situation at the front, sanctions and the confiscation of Russian assets, their allocation for the reconstruction of Ukraine, and the creation of a special tribunal for Russia.

Keir Starmer: New British Prime Minister and his stance on Ukraine

Photo: Meeting between Starmer and Zelenskyy in Kyiv (

During the visit, the Labour leader declared that Ukraine would always enjoy the "steadfast support" of his party.

Notably, Labour members David Lammy and John Healey visited the Ukrainian capital in May this year. If their party wins, they could become the Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary, respectively. They assured that Britain would continue to support Ukraine in its war with Russia.

It should be noted that, according to the latest data, the opposition Labour Party won 410 seats in the lower house of the British Parliament in the recent elections. An absolute majority requires 326 seats. The current British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has already conceded defeat, stating that the Labour Party has won. Meanwhile, Starmer gave a speech in London, saying that the United Kingdom once again sees a "ray of hope" and promised that the country would "reclaim its future after 14 years."

Sources: material from The Guardian, Sky News, Euronews, BBC, Politico, Wikipedia, and the press service of the Office of the President of Ukraine.