Keir Starmer: I wouldn’t be ‘mates’ with Sunak — we’re from ‘totally different worlds’

Keir Starmer has said he wouldn’t be “mates” with Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, because the pair are from “totally different worlds”.

The Labour leader admitted to an ITV documentary team that he gets on “alright” with the prime minister, but added he would not be friends with him outside of politics. 

Upon it being suggested to him that there might be some similarities between him and the PM, and that in different circumstances they could have been friends, Starmer said: “We wouldn’t be mates — we’re from totally different worlds.”

Starmer has frequently spoken about his working class upbringing, referencing his toolmaker father and mother who was a nurse. 

He attended a selective state school before going to university at Leeds.

The Labour leader made the comments as he allowed cameras to follow him around the country for an ITV documentary. 

In the film, Starmer also spoke about his time as a student at Leeds University in the 1980s.

It was noted that he wrote an article critiquing the “authoritarian onslaught of Thatcherism” in a Socialist Alternatives magazine at the time. Expanding on his critical words in Socialist Alternatives, he told ITV: “Even now I would say the same. What she did was a clarity of mission and purpose. But actually what she did was very destructive.”

Meanwhile, asked whether he had ever wanted Jeremy Corbyn to become prime minister, Starmer said: “I didn’t think the Labour Party was in a position to win the last election, I didn’t obviously vote for Corbyn in 2015 or 2016. On the contrary, I resigned in 2016.

“I thought that once that 2016 Brexit referendum had happened, I took the view that what then followed in the next few years was going to be felt for generations and that I thought it was my responsibility to play a full part in that.”

While Starmer said he gets on “alright” with the prime minister, he has previously revealed his loathing for former prime minister Boris Johnson.

At a recording of comedian Matt Forde’s Political Party podcast, Starmer said in early 2023: “Is there anybody who’s had any relationship with Johnson — you know, in any sense of the word — who hasn’t ended up in the gutter?”. is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.