The future British Prime Minister comes from a humble background

As the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Keir Starmer’s journey from a working-class background, his deep legal expertise, and his firm yet unpredictable political stance set the stage for a compelling leadership era.

“The Labour Party has triumphed in this general election, and I have reached out to Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory,” announced British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today. “Power will be transferred peacefully and orderly, with goodwill from all parties involved.”

Sunak’s statement marks the end of a 14-year Conservative rule, paving the way for the 61-year-old Starmer to ascend as the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. This moment represents the pinnacle of Starmer’s career, continuing the legacy of Keir Hardie, the founder of the Labour Party.

In his victory speech in London, Keir Starmer declared that the Labour-led government’s mission is “to implement ideas that bring the nation together.” “We must return politics to the service of the community,” he emphasized, adding that his administration will “prove our capacity to achieve great things.”

However, beyond the campaign slogan “Change,” Starmer’s strategy for leading the country remains a significant enigma. In a poll conducted by Ipsos last month, 50% of respondents admitted they were unsure of what he truly represents.

One of Starmer’s biographers acknowledged that he is “incredibly difficult to predict.” Starmer has leveraged this ambiguity to his advantage, allowing people to project their beliefs onto him, according to observers.

During the campaign, Starmer avoided interviews with foreign media, and close colleagues describe him as “highly private.” Yet, he is open about his humble origins.

“My mother was a nurse, my father a toolmaker,” he shared. The future Prime Minister recounted growing up with unpaid bills and a frequently disconnected phone line.

Baldwin noted that pasta “was an exotic dish” in the Starmer household, and his family never traveled abroad.

Despite these challenges, Starmer consistently excelled academically, gaining admission to prestigious schools from secondary to university levels. He was accepted to study law at the University of Leeds and later pursued a master’s degree at Oxford University.

Starmer has expressed a desire to help young families secure their first home loans, understanding that his parents’ modest home “meant everything to his family.” “It provided us with a sense of stability, and I believe every family deserves that,” he asserted.

Starmer remembers how well his mother was cared for when she suffered from a debilitating inflammatory condition, an experience that instilled in him a deep respect for the National Health Service (NHS).

He has a wife, Victoria, and two teenage children, whose names he has kept private. His wife works for the NHS in occupational health and safety, a role that Starmer says has given him “profound insight” into the struggles of an underfunded and overstretched healthcare system.

Starmer recounted that his father felt “self-conscious” working in a factory and seldom expressed emotions to his family. As a father himself, Starmer strives to finish work by 6 PM on Fridays to “spend time with the kids.”

Colleagues familiar with Starmer before his political career suggest his legal career might offer clues to his future governance style.

They note he was never a “jury lawyer” delivering dramatic closing statements. Instead, Starmer built his cases on precedent, regulations, and concrete evidence.

Early in his career, Starmer joined Doughty Street Chambers, a law firm known for handling major, contentious human rights cases. He fought against the death penalty in Commonwealth countries, persuading Uganda’s Constitutional Court to overturn death sentences for 417 individuals.

Starmer also defended, pro bono, two vegetarians distributing leaflets accusing McDonald’s of underpaying staff, cruelty to animals, and supporting deforestation. McDonald’s sued them for defamation.

The litigation lasted ten years, with numerous appeals, becoming one of the longest legal battles in British history, ending in a stalemate for both sides.

London media lawyer Mark Stephens, who has worked with Starmer, remarked that Starmer “always had a strategic vision” for securing favorable outcomes in seemingly unwinnable cases, whether appealing to the Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights.

But Starmer later surprised many colleagues by becoming the UK’s top prosecutor, taking charge of prosecuting the country’s first al-Qaeda terrorists.

Starmer also leveled charges against Conservative and Labour politicians embroiled in a public spending scandal. He and his team faced criticism for their heavy-handed approach in arresting and prosecuting those involved in the London riots following the police shooting of Mark Duggan, a black man, in 2011.

Although once an opponent of the monarchy, Starmer was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014 for his contributions to the Crown Prosecution Service.

It wasn’t until he was 52 that Starmer entered politics. He was elected as the Member of Parliament for Holborn and St. Pancras in London in 2015, and the Labour Party tasked him with negotiating the party’s stance on Brexit.

Starmer opposed Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU), yet many Labour voters supported it. The Labour Party’s confusing stance—neither fully supporting nor opposing Brexit but advocating for a second referendum—seemed to contribute to their defeat by the Conservatives in the 2019 election.

After that electoral defeat, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stepped down, and Starmer was elected to replace him. He began efforts to rebuild the party.

Those whom Starmer defeated in internal party competitions called him an “opportunist.” However, allies praised him for purging members who had contributed to the public’s negative perception of Labour. He also aimed to shift the party more towards the center.

“He has articulated a set of values, principles, and methods for developing Britain that align perfectly with my perspective as a commercial capitalist,” billionaire John Caudwell, a former major Conservative donor, told the BBC.

Friends of Keir Starmer describe him as someone capable of being exceptionally tough and decisive—qualities that Britain might desperately need in these challenging times.

“He’s always had an incredible work drive,” said Tom Baldwin, a journalist and former Labour Party PR expert who recently published a highly acclaimed biography on Starmer. “He has a broad vision of the potential for change. He won’t inspire people with speeches. What he does is fix things.”

Supporters of Starmer hope he will be a leader who brings about genuine change, bridging the deep divides within his own party.

“I think Starmer has shown himself to be quite firm in transforming his party,” commented Tony Travers, a political expert at the London School of Economics. “But will such firmness translate into government? We shall have to wait and see.”

Critics argue that as Prime Minister, Starmer may lean towards a softer approach rather than taking bold actions.

His priorities will focus on domestic politics, striving to stabilize the British economy and dispel the public’s perception that living costs have spiraled out of control. He aims to cut electricity prices by establishing a new state-run green energy company. Starmer also seeks to reduce patient waiting times for medical appointments.

Observers believe that the UK’s foreign policy is unlikely to see significant changes under the new government. Starmer has pledged that the UK will remain a strong NATO member, continue supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, and back Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas, alongside calls for a ceasefire.