Keir Starmer’s rarely-seen spouse – NHS job, awkward first meet and candy help

Keir Starmer’s ‘no nonsense’ wife Victoria is the Labour leader’s rock behind closed doors – but their first encounter was far from romantic.

Starmer is set for a glistening victory on July 4 according to the polls, and while he’s opened up candidly about his family background – notably in an emotional chat with football legend Gary Neville this week – his wife stays largely out of the spotlight.

The couple, who have been married for 15 years, have two children – a 15-year-old son called Tony and a daughter, whose name has not been made public. Starmer and his wife have always fiercely protected their kids’ privacy.

Victoria – or Vic to Starmer – rarely makes appearances alongside her husband, but supports him behind closed doors to talk through ways to improve the country. Batting off speculation around his wife’s whereabouts on the campaign trail earlier this week, Starmer told LBC’s Nick Ferrari that Victoria – who works as an occupational therapist in the NHS – is focused on her job and supporting their son through his exams.

“Vic does quite a bit with me, but during this campaign two things: One, she is working at the NHS in a hospital. Two, and I don’t make a lot of this, is our boy has been doing his GCSEs and therefore we took the decision that whilst I was out and about on the road, we wanted to create the environment where he could study calmly in ordinary circumstances,” the politician revealed.

Keir and Victoria

The first time Victoria spoke to Keir over the phone, he really wound her up
POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

As the top job feels within touching distance, the Labour leader has been praised for remaining grounded and down-to-earth – and often thanks his wife for keeping him so.

When asked if his wife ever gives him advice about work, the Labour leader told LBC listeners: “After the first [ General Election TV] debate I was slightly frustrated because I didn’t think the 45 seconds to answer a question really worked for me. I know why the programme set it up in that way. So I was pretty sort of – ‘argh!’ – frustrated. I am not good company when I am in that place. But Vic cheered me up on that one.”

Speaking fondly of his partner’s role in the health service, Starmer told the Sunday Mirror: “She loves working for the NHS. She loves the team that she’s working with. And she and I are doing our best to raise two happy and confident children and that matters hugely to us.”

Just like her husband, Victoria is a trained solicitor and worked in law before joining the NHS. The pair married in 2007 – the year before Starmer became Director of Public Prosecutions. They first met in the early 2000s when working as lawyers, where Victoria had to supply Keir with documents for a case he was working on. But it seems her first impression of the Labour leader was less than impressed.

Keir and Victoria

Mum-of-two Victoria Starmer is an NHS worker
AFP via Getty Images)

According to Starmer’s unofficial biographer Nigel Cawthorne, author of Keir Starmer: A Life of Contrasts: “He rang her and, having never spoken to her before, queried whether the brief she had sent him was less than ‘100 percent accurate’. Unflustered, Victoria firmly held her ground against the caller on the other side of the line, reassuring him that she knew her job and, after putting the phone down, said, ‘Who the f*** does he think he is?'”

Keir also recalled the first encounter when speaking on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories in 2020, explaining: “I was doing a case in court and it all depended on whether the documents were accurate. I [asked the team] who actually drew up these documents, they said a woman called Victoria, so I said let’s get her on the line.” He revealed how he ended up hearing her last comment. “She said, ‘Who the bleep does he think he is?’, then put the phone down on me. And quite right too.”

Starmer reportedly took her for their first date at the Lord Stanley pub, in Camden, where they now live in a £1.75 million townhouse in his Holborn and St Pancras constituency. The family of Victoria, who grew up in the nearby Gospel Oak area, is originally from Poland with Jewish heritage. Although Keir is an atheist, he has mentioned that their children have been brought up in the faith. In an interview on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Keir revealed: “It is perfectly true that my wife’s father is Jewish – they came from Poland – and my wife’s mother converted when they got married. There is a long tradition of family and faith there. We observe some of the practices, for example, Friday night prayers”.

And it appears that if Keir gets to Downing Street – which is looking increasingly likely – Victoria would be off doing her own thing, according to a Labour insider. “She’s quite sassy in that she’s quite unbothered by what he’s doing,” a source told the Telegraph last year. “If he ever gets into Downing Street, she’s going to be very much leading her own life. She’s not going to be in the spotlight like Cherie Blair, but more of a background Sarah Brown-type figure. They have a great dynamic – she spends quite a lot of time taking the mickey out of him because he can be so serious. I’ve never known her to be particularly political – she’s always had her own interests.”

The Labour frontman will join three other party leaders in a televised General Election debate tonight. The BBC is hosting a Question Time special in York, where members of the public will grill politicians on their plans for the country. Starmer will be joined by sinking PM Rishi Sunak, John Swinney for the Scottish National Party and Ed Davey for the Liberal Democrats. Ed Davey will kick the debate off with his 30 minute slot. Then we’ll hear from John Swinney before Starmer takes the floor. Finally, Sunak will face questions from the public.

The debate comes as a new mega-poll spells more misery for the Tories. The latest YouGov figures predict that Labour will come away with 425 seats, with the crisis-stricken Tories left with just 108 MPs. Other polls this week have predicted a similar disaster for the Conservatives.