pollitician : Starmer reveals 'worry' for family if he enters No 10 as Sunak 'excited' for daughters to complete national service

pollitician : Starmer reveals 'worry' for family if he enters No 10 as Sunak 'excited' for daughters to complete national service
pollitician : Starmer reveals 'worry' for family if he enters No 10 as Sunak 'excited' for daughters to complete national service

Wednesday 12 June 2024 10:48 PM

newsonline - Sir Keir Starmer has revealed the thing he fears the most about becoming prime minister is the impact it will have on his children.

Speaking to Beth Rigby during Sky News' Battle For Number 10 in Grimsby, the Labour leader said it was "not the big decisions" he feared the most but the effect his job will have on his teenage children.

He said his children - a boy aged nearly 16 and a girl aged 13 - were at "difficult ages" and it would have been easier if they were younger or older.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak - who also underwent questioning by Rigby - defended his record in Number 10 after he was questioned about "broken promises" he made in January 2023 when he became prime minister.

The prime minister was specifically asked about the tax burden, NHS waiting lists and immigration - which he admitted was "too high".

He said he could understand people's "frustrations" but argued the country has "been through two once-in-a-century shocks" - the first the COVID pandemic and the second Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Follow live: Starmer asked if he has 'trust issue' with voters

"I appreciate people want to see positive change, but you don't get any change unless you've got a plan and you're prepared to do bold things," he argued.

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The prime minister also said he is "incredibly excited" for his daughters to do national service in response to a question from William, a student from Grimsby. "I think it will be transformative for our country", he said.

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And on migration, he was challenged about how he thought Brexit voters (in Grimsby 70% opted to leave the EU) - felt upon learning that the total net migration figure for the last three years was 1.9 million people.

He admitted the numbers were "too high" but insisted he had begun to bring them down since becoming prime minister.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video playerSunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer are answering questions at Sky’s leaders’ event in Grimsby. 7:32

Sunak grilled over migration record

Asked why anyone should believe what he says given that David Cameron and Theresa May both promised to slash migration, he said: "I completely understand people's cynicism about this," before adding that numbers were now down 10% and the number of visas issued this year was also down by a quarter.

'The thing that keeps me up at night is my children'

Sir Keir, who the polls predict will be the country's next prime minister, said he "relished" the chance he may be given to change the country but that he feared for his teenage children.

"These are really difficult ages," he said. "My only fear really is the impact it's going to have on them."

He said the reason they had not appeared publicly or in a photo shoot with him was to protect them and to ensure they have their "own lives".

"I don't fear the big decisions, in fact, I relish the chance to change our country," he told Rigby.

Sir Keir Starmer leaders' debate

"My only fear... the only thing that keeps me up at night is worrying about my children."

'I want to do things differently'

Sir Keir, who spoke before Mr Sunak took to the stage, also sought to distinguish himself from previous Labour leaders by saying he did not want to reach for the "tax lever" to sort out the country's finances.

He said his "central mission was to grow the economy" and that he wanted to "do things differently".

Despite persistent questioning over his tax plans, Sir Keir said there would be "no need" to raise taxes on working people in the party's manifesto that will be published on Thursday.

"I want to do things differently," he said. "I want to grow our economy.

"I accept that previous Labour leaders have sort of pulled the tax lever every single time and driven up spending.

"The manifesto tomorrow will be a manifesto, a plan for wealth creation.

"Now, you might not hear a Labour leader say that very often, but for me, that is the most important thing."

Read more from Sky News:
What the data says about some of the key election issues
Reeves' Tory manifesto mortgage claim 'very speculative'

Awkward moments

After taking questions from Rigby, Sir Keir faced the audience who asked him about his plans to tackle child poverty, housing and the NHS.

He was also asked by one audience member whether he had changed since leading the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to resemble a "political robot".

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video playerKeir Starmer was accused of having changed from a few years ago, when he seemed like a genuine public servant. 0:51

Starmer accused of being a 'political robot'

After an awkward pause, Sir Keir replied: "I've had this constant theme in my life of trying to serve the public. That's why I took the decision to go into politics."

Mr Sunak also faced laughter and boos from the audience when challenged about the five pledges he made after he replaced Boris Johnson as prime minister.

He faced laughter when he said inflation "was always meant to come down over time" and the audience expressed frustration when he blamed the lack of progress on cutting NHS waiting lists - which currently stand at 7.54 million - on industrial action.

And asked if he could provide the audience with any personal information that "make them like you a bit more again", he replied: "People seem to think I have a very kind of healthy lifestyle and I go to the gym and session about my fasting, but I actually have an appalling diet because I eat an enormous amount of sugar, and I'm very unhealthy in that regard."

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