Keir Starmer: I would pay if I saw parent shoplifting baby formula

Sir Keir Starmer has said he would get out his wallet for a parent deemed 'clearly in need'
Sir Keir Starmer has said he would get out his wallet for a parent deemed 'clearly in need' - JACOB KING/PA

Sir Keir Starmer has said he would offer to pay if he saw a parent shoplifting baby formula.

The Labour leader told the Big Issue: “I’d offer to pay it. The desperation of families around the country should make the Tories feel nothing but shame.

“Of course, shoplifting is a problem for businesses, so we’d have 13,000 more neighbourhood police to provide reassurance on our high streets.

“But we’d also change the rules so people could use food bank vouchers and loyalty card points to buy baby formula,” he added.

Necessary baby food items are now commonly kept locked or have security tags on them
Necessary baby food items are now commonly kept locked or have security tags on them - JAMES LINSELL/SWNS

Sir Keir and John Swinney, the leader of the SNP, both said they would get out their wallets for a parent deemed “clearly in need” stealing baby formula.

The Labour leader echoed comments made by Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, earlier this year, who said he would offer to pay if he saw a parent shoplifting baby products.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak said he would not, and told the magazine: “Shoplifting is not a victimless crime and we’ll always support shopkeepers to prevent theft.

“At the same time, we will continue to help parents with the cost of living.”

Sir Ed Davey said that he would “try to persuade [the parent] not to, obviously“, adding that to “try and find them other help, that would be the best way of doing it.”

Mr Swinney, the Scottish First Minister, said: “I’d discreetly offer to pay as no parent should ever have to face this situation.

“Sadly, this is not hypothetical – I meet with my constituents, and people across Scotland, every week who face this kind of hardship.”

In April, Mr Khan told the Big Issue: “What upsets me is the tags you have now, on nappies and baby foods, because of the issue that is in relation to somebody who is shoplifting.

“In the hypothetical case, I suspect I’ll take my wallet out, and I would pay for it.”