Labour leadership hustings cancelled as Keir Starmer’s mother-in-law remains in hospital

Ashley Cowburn

Labour’s weekend leadership debate has been cancelled after Sir Keir Starmer pulled out of all campaigning activities due to his mother-in-law being critically-ill in hospital.

The party’s general secretary, Jenny Formby, told those vying to succeed Jeremy Corbyn that Labour’s procedures committee had agreed unanimously not to go ahead with the hustings in Leeds “to ensure fairness”.

It comes after Sir Keir’s spokesperson said on Thursday that following a serious accident, the Holborn and St Pancras MP’s mother-in-law had been admitted to hospital and was in intensive care.

“In order to support his family at this difficult time, Keir will be cancelling all events today and tomorrow,” they said.

In a further statement released on Friday, his team added he will be cancelling all campaign events this week, adding: “We ask that his family’s privacy is respected at this time.”

In a message to colleagues, Ms Formby confirmed the party’s leadership hustings on Saturday in Leeds have been cancelled as a result.

“Keir and his family at her side and he will not be able to make the leadership hustings in Leeds tomorrow morning,” she said.

“The procedures committee unanimously agreed last night that in the circumstances and to ensure fairness to all candidates, the hustings will be cancelled, although the deputy leadership hustings will continue as planned.

She continued: “I am sure you will understand and support this decision and we look forward to seeing you all at the remaining 11 hustings. We have sent our very best wishes and solidarity to Keir and his family, and our hope that his mother-in-law recovers very soon.”