'My dad was a toolmaker': Labour candidates and their backgrounds

Heather Stewart
Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Sir Keir Starmer

A London-based lawyer and former director of public prosecutions, Starmer has perhaps faced the most intense scrutiny of his background.

The Mail on Sunday ran a story claiming the family home in Oxted, Surrey had an Aga cooker – often found in well-to-do homes – though when the Mail’s Michael Crick visited the house, he found a modest, pebble-dashed semi.

Starmer told the Guardian in December: “My dad was a toolmaker and my mum was a nurse. And not everybody knows that and that’s because I don’t say it very often … the middle class background just doesn’t wash.”

Rebecca Long-Bailey

Long-Bailey is also a lawyer: though she practised as a solicitor near her home on the outskirts of Manchester, instead of as a London-based QC.

She has faced questions about her childhood, after saying it was overshadowed by her father losing his job on the docks in Liverpool – when she was two. She said he lost his job with Shell at Barton Docks, but the family then moved near to Ellesmere Port, where he had found work. Long-Bailey’s husband, Mark, is in marketing for a chemicals firm.

Emily Thornberry

Another lawyer, she is the daughter of human rights lawyer Cedric Thornberry, who held senior posts at the United Nations: but after her parents split up, she and her mother moved to a council house in Guildford, where she launched her campaign on Friday. “People who know me know that I come from a council estate. People who know me know that I was brought up by a single parent on benefits,” she said.

Jess Phillips

Phillips said in the House of Commons, of her Birmingham upbringing: “I thought I had met posh people before I came here, but I had actually just met people who eat olives.” Her mother was a senior NHS administrator, and her father a teacher.

Lisa Nandy

Nandy is the granddaughter of a Liberal peer on her mother’s side, and her father was an Indian-born academic, Dipak Nandy. She was born in Manchester, and went to the local Parrs Wood high school – a comprehensive.