James Forsyth

Keir Starmer’s interview gamble pays off

Keir Starmer’s interview gamble pays off
Keir Starmer (photo: ITV)
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One of the biggest challenges for any leader of the opposition is getting noticed. Doing that requires taking some risks and Keir Starmer’s sit down with Piers Morgan was a bit of a risk – politicians can get caught out in these more personal formats. Starmer did well, though. He didn’t fall into any Nick Clegg style traps; navigating the sex and drugs questions with relative ease. He talked movingly about his mother, and how she coped with her long illness. His relationship with his own father clearly wasn’t easy, Starmer said the only time his father ever said he was proud of him was when he passed the 11-plus, and it was touching to hear him talk about how he tries to parent his own kids differently.

There wasn’t, unsurprisingly, much policy in the interview. Starmer talked about how he hoped a Labour government would bring pride in the country, dignity at all stages of life, and change – ­which is all a bit motherhood and apple pie.

Now, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. This interview isn’t going to transform peoples’ opinions of the Labour leader and what came across was more a sense of decency than a vision for the country or a blast of charisma. But it does suggest that Starmer isn’t quite as finished as some of his critics like to suggest.