Starmer called out by Andrew Neil over claim he did not have Sky TV growing up

Andrew Neil has joined in the Sunak v Starmer Sky TV row
Andrew Neil has joined in the Sky TV row - Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Andrew Neil has called out Sir Keir Starmer for claiming his family did not have Sky TV when he was a child – because the service launched when he was 27 years old.

The Labour leader said he “certainly” did not have the paid-for channel after Rishi Sunak said it was one of the things he had to go without growing up.

Neil, a broadcaster who was the founding chairman of Sky TV, criticised Sir Keir, 61, for the remarks, saying: “I launched Sky TV in 1989, by which time Starmer was 27 – so obviously he didn’t have Sky growing up. Nobody his age did since it didn’t exist.

“Also, as the first executive chairman of Sky I can tell you with authority that working-class families were the first to adopt it.”

The row came after the Prime Minister was pressed in an ITV interview about what sacrifices his family had to make during his childhood.

Having initially said “lots of things”, Mr Sunak specified: “There’ll be all sorts of things that I would’ve wanted as a kid that I couldn’t have.

“Famously Sky TV, so that was something that we never had growing up actually.”

Mr Sunak, 44, later qualified his remarks as he spoke to reporters on the campaign trail, saying he had enjoyed a “very, very fortunate” upbringing.

“But the reality of the situation is my grandparents emigrated to this country, with very little, and in three generations, I’m sitting here talking to you as Prime Minister,” he said.

Labour has attempted to portray Mr Sunak, who attended Winchester College and is a multi-millionaire, as out of touch.

Sir Keir has repeatedly described himself as working-class since he took over the party in 2020.

He has made much of his father’s work as a toolmaker and his mother’s as a nurse in an attempt to draw a dividing line between him and Mr Sunak.