Who really is Keir Starmer, British Labor leader

<h2>An opposition leader at the gates of power</h2>One year before the general election, Keir Starmer is refining his stature as a possible future prime minister

Who really is Keir Starmer, British Labor leader

An opposition leader at the gates of power

One year before the general election, Keir Starmer is refining his stature as a possible future prime minister. On September 19, the 61-year-old leader of the British Labor opposition was received by President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée, a few days after having been in Canada and the Netherlands. The conservative majority has gritted its teeth at this departure from France's customs – a leader generally only meets the head of the opposition of another country if it is from his own political camp. But among the Tories, many people no longer believe in the possibility of victory: in the polls, Labor is at least fifteen points ahead. The British seem tired of thirteen years of conservative power, the scandals of the Boris Johnson era and the catastrophic mandate of Liz Truss.

A lawyer converted to politics

Elected as an MP since 2015, Keir Starmer applies to politics the discipline he deployed when he was director of public prosecutions (a sort of attorney general) for England and Wales. After replacing Jeremy Corbyn as Labor leader in April 2020, the former human rights lawyer dismissed anyone who refused to take allegations of anti-Semitism against the party seriously, including Jeremy Corbyn himself. He then neutralized potential rivals and those without sufficient experience of power. His detractors say they struggle to understand Keir Starmer's beliefs and believe he is there more to win than to defend ideas.

A promoter of a moderate left

To have any chance of winning back Downing Street, Labor must play to the centre. This is the bet made by Keir Starmer, who has marginalized the left of the party (the pro-Corbyn) and is developing a government project marked by budgetary discipline, a firm line on migration and security. He promised to remove laws limiting the right to strike but refuses to commit to increasing social benefits. Even its investment plan for the green economy (32 billion euros per year) has been scaled back. Keir Starmer refuses to appear with unions and denounces the blocking operations of climate activists.

A classy Arsenal fan defector

The MP, with thick hair and a piercing gaze, readily evokes his modest origins: a worker father, a nurse mother, both Labor activists who named him in reference to James Keir Hardie, one of the founders of Labour, in 1893. Keir Starmer did not go to a private college, unlike the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, or previous Conservative leaders. And he was the first in his family to go to university: he studied law at Leeds and a masters at Oxford. He only has one passion, football. He plays for an amateur club in North London and is a die-hard supporter of the Arsenal club. He also offered a team jersey to Emmanuel Macron during their meeting.