David Cameron’s Bullingdon Club buddy and Boots CEO endorses Keir Starmer

An old Etonian friend of David Cameron who was in the elite Oxford Bullingdon Club with him and Boris Johnson has endorsed Keir Starmer.

Sebastian James, who is the chief executive of Boots, featured in a video at the Labour leader’s campaign launch supporting the party’s plans for economic stability. He spoke about his hopes for the future after Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves set out her ambitions to to deliver economic stability with tough spending rules if Labour gets into power.

The businessman, whose full name is the Right Hon Sebastian Richard Edward Cuthbert James, popped up on screen saying: “Hi, my name is Seb James and it is my great privilege to lead the Boots organisation…. Some of the things that I think are incredibly important to a business like Boots, for me, first and foremost, it’s stability.

“Stable economy provides the right platform for sustainable economic growth. And it’s that real focus on economic growth that is going to be so important in the next few years.” He added: “We of course welcome sensible fiscal measures to help put more money in people’s pockets and grow the economy. And that’s what I hope is going to happen.”

Mr James attended Oxford University at the same time as Lord Cameron, who is now Foreign Secretary, and former PM Boris Johnson. They were all members of the infamous and controversial Bullingdon club, a private, invite-only male dining club. In 2011 the Mail on Sunday reported that then-Prime Minister Lord Cameron and his wife Samantha holidayed with Mr and Mrs James in a luxury 15-bedroom villa in Tuscany.

In January the boss of Iceland backed Mr Starmer to be the next Prime Minister, saying the Labour leader understands the “unbearable strain” families are facing. Richard Walker, a former Tory donor who had considered becoming an MP, quit the party in disgust last year with a warning it had “lost its way”.

At Labour party conference ex-Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who was appointed governor by former Tory Chancellor George Osborne, backed Ms Reeves. He said: “Rachel Reeves is a serious economist. She began her career at the Bank of England, so she understands the big picture.” It comes after Tory MPs Natalie Elphicke and Dan Poulter defected to Labour in the last month.

At a speech in Essex, Mr Starmer said the Tory government has “beaten the hope out of people that politics can be a force for good”. “If you take these 14 years – to leave your country in a worse state after 14 years than you found it is unforgivable in politics, whichever party you support,” he said.

“I fundamentally believe that and I’m not prepared to see a Labour government that doesn’t materially improve our country so that we can genuinely look back in five or 10 years time and say, ‘do you know what, it is better now than it was. We’ve got more chances, opportunities, equality now than we had before’.”