Next Labour leader ‘ideally’ a woman, says Starmer

The next leader of Labour should “ideally” be a woman, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

In a wide-ranging interview with Times Radio, the Labour leader spoke of his hope that after he steps down his party could for the first time choose a woman to lead it.

The Conservatives, in the early days of the short-lived Liz Truss administration, had pointed out that the party had a record of three female leaders compared to none for Labour.

“We do need a female leader of the Labour Party,” Sir Keir told the broadcaster, with the interview also carried in the Times newspaper.

“I’ve got really powerful women around me, if you look at Rachel Reeves, Yvette Cooper, Angela Rayner, Lisa Nandy, Bridget Phillipson. But does the party need a woman leader? Yes, it does.”

Asked if his eventual successor should be a woman, he said: “Yes, ideally. We’ll have to see what the circumstances are, but I don’t think we should shy away from that challenge at all.”

Sir Keir also said that he had spoken to former Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, as his team prepares for Government.

After the chaos of recent weeks triggered by Ms Truss’s disastrous mini-budget, Labour remains ahead in the polls despite the arrival of Rishi Sunak into No 10.

Sir Keir said: “I’ve been talking to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for some time now.

“I’m conscious that we’ve been out of power for 12 years. That means I don’t have people around the shadow cabinet table who’ve got huge experience in government. So, I’m determined that we need to be ready to hit the ground running.”