The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he speaks to former US president Barack Obama “frequently” as he continues his diplomatic blitz.
Ahead of his meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron, expected to take place on Tuesday, Starmer met with centre-left world leaders for a conference in Montreal, Canada, over the weekend. It was hosted by Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, who Starmer engaged with in a one-on-one chat.
Other delegates included the former prime ministers Jacinda Ardern, of New Zealand, and Sanna Marin, of Finland, a recent recruit for the Tony Blair Institute.
Tony Blair was also in attendance.
Starmer, who is yet to meet US president Joe Biden, told Politico that he and David Lammy, his shadow foreign secretary, held two hours of talks with Obama in 2021.
Barack Obama served two terms as US president from 2008 to 2016.
On the 2024 election, Sir Keir said: “It’s clear what my desired outcome would be, but the desired outcome may yield to a different outcome.”
The Labour leader used his trip to Canada to stress the importance of British border security.
He said: “In principle it’s wrong to think that control of the border is not a progressive issue.
“Because if you lose control of the border, a number of things happen – that’s when in certain places you get into the business of people talking about walls and fences because you’ve lost control of the border.
“It goes down this slippery slope. And if you can’t have a wall and a fence, you have some of the gimmicks that we’re seeing in the United Kingdom.”
Joe Biden has confirmed he will run for a second term in the White House in 2024. His likeliest challenger will be Donald Trump who is the Republican front-runner in the ongoing party primaries.
In his wide-ranging interview on his approach to global affairs for Politico, Starmer said one of his priorities would be “the restoration of the U.K. and its reputation on the world stage.”
He said: “I feel very strongly that since Brexit, there’s been a sense that we’ve not just exited the EU, that we’ve somehow turned our back on the world and wherever you go people feel almost the absence of the U.K., once a leading voice, now rarely consulted.”
The new Politico podcast, Power Play, including the interview with Keir Starmer, will be released on podcast platforms on September 21.
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