Starmer: UK does not need a comedian as prime minister

Sir Keir Starmer has said it was not “a real laugh to crash the economy” as he argued the country does not need a “comedian” as prime minister.

He was asked about countering his image as a “dull” politician in an interview with Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts, who put questions from the site’s users to the Labour leader.

“I find this whole discussion pretty tedious to be honest, because most people know that the job of prime minister is a pretty serious job,” Sir Keir said.

“We actually had a comedian with Boris Johnson, and it really didn’t go very well.

“And then we had Liz Truss. I don’t think it was a real laugh to crash the economy with that kamikaze budget.”

It is more important to have a leader who understands people’s struggle to make ends meet, Sir Keir said, pointing to his childhood when his family’s phone was cut off as they could not afford the bill.

“I think many people say: ‘I’d rather have someone who knows what it’s like and is serious about putting it right and taking us forward than someone who’s got brilliant one liners’,” he said, adding: “But I have got a few one liners”.

Asked about Labour’s failure so far to elect a woman leader, Sir Keir said he would be “the first to say” that the party “needs a woman prime minister”.

“Happily I’ve got really powerful, strong women in the shadow cabinet in very, very important roles,” he said.

“If you want to look at which is the party that’s bearing down on women and actually holding them back, it’s the Government, because almost everything that they do, everything that they mess up – and they’ve absolutely damaged the economy – impacts women disproportionately.”

Sir Keir welcomed a question – often posed to prominent women – on how he balances the demands of his job with those of having a young family.

“I should be asked that question,” he said.

“I’ve got a hard stop in my diary at 6 o’clock on a Friday. Unless it’s exceptional, I will be going home.”

He said spending time with his children is a “really good leveller”.

He said: “They have no regard for the fact that I’m leader of the Labour Party. I walk through that front door and I’m dad.”

He recounted telling his daughter he was speaking at a fundraising dinner, prompting her reply: “Why would anyone pay to hear you speak?”