Hugs, kisses and no wi-fi: The moment Keir Starmer found out he would be prime minister

Sir Keir Starmer’s biographer has revealed the moment the Labour leader found out he would become the next prime minister.

Labour won a landslide in Thursday’s general election, which saw former premier Liz Truss and a dozen Tory cabinet members lose their seats.

Sir Keir became the new PM after meeting King Charles at Buckingham Palace, following the resignation of Rishi Sunak.

Newly elected Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria enter their official London residence at No 10 Downing Street for the first time
Newly elected Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria enter their official London residence at No 10 Downing Street for the first time

Tom Baldwin, a former Labour advisor and author of Keir Starmer: The Biography, described the moments after the exit poll released at 10pm on Thursday night.

Mr Baldwin, who spent the evening with Sir Keir, said a handful of Labour aides joined the Labour leader with his wife Victoria and their two teenage children.

“[Keir Starmer] wrapped both his arms around his wife to share an extravagant kiss,” Mr Baldwin wrote in The Observer.

“Then he reached out for his 13-year-old daughter. They embraced for a moment but he jolted into a tighter, protective grip as he realised it was all becoming too much.”

The couple moved in on Friday (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
The couple moved in on Friday (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

While the public has got to know Sir Keir better in recent months, much less is known about Victoria, who prefers to keep a low profile.

Mrs Starmer, known by friends as Lady Victoria, is a former lawyer who now works in occupational health for the NHS.

They live in a £1.75m townhouse within Mr Starmer’s Holborn and St Pancras constituency.

In a recent interview with The Independent, the Labour leader admitted his greatest fear about becoming prime minister is its impact on his children.

Sir Keir and Victoria embrace at the Tate Modern victory party (Jeff Moore/PA) (PA Wire)
Sir Keir and Victoria embrace at the Tate Modern victory party (Jeff Moore/PA) (PA Wire)

“It’s been a cause of concern for me about the impact on the kids in particular,” he said.

“I’m not going to pretend that they are not worried about this, because they are. Our girl is 13 and a half, our boy 15, nearly 16. It is very impactful. They’re just sort of exploring their independence, and suddenly, if we get over the line, that is going to be hard.”

Mr Baldwin also said that shortly after the exit poll released, the internet went down and “there was no wifi, no TV and the prime minister-elect was cut off from the outside world”.

At 4.42am on Friday, Rishi Sunak won in his Richmond and Northallerton seat. In his speech he conceded defeat, adding: “I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.”

Shorty after, Sir Keir pledged “change begins now” as he addressed jubilant activists celebrating the landslide victory at the Tate Modern art gallery in London.

“We did it,” he told supporters. “You campaigned for it, you fought for it, you voted for it, and now it has arrived - change begins now.”