Sir Keir Starmer has shared some of his final memories of his mother in an emotional television interview.
The Labour leader, 58, was teary-eyed as he spoke on Piers Morgan‘s Life Stories, opening up about his mother’s death a few weeks before he became an MP in 2015.
Sir Keir‘s mother, Josephine, suffered with a rare condition called Still’s disease, which causes painful swelling in the joints.
Both of Sir Keir’s parents were Labour supporters, and named their son after Keir Hardie, the party’s first leader.
Sir Keir said: “My mum got Still’s disease – it’s a disease that attacks your joints.
“For some people it comes and goes, for mum it came and it came in and it came again.
“My dad was totally devoted to her, and I remember being at home, and he phoned.
“And he said, ‘Your mum’s not going to make it, can you tell the others?’ and that hit me.”
Sir Keir was the second of his parent’s four children.
Morgan asked if this was a cruel thing for the politician’s father, Rodney, to do.
The Labour leader said: “No. He wasn’t going to leave her side, there’s no way he was coming out of that hospital even to tell his own kids.
“He was going to stay there with her, he always did – at her side in the high dependency unit – and if he couldn’t be there he’d sleep on the chairs outside.
“There was no way he was coming home, he wouldn’t leave her. This was the same every time she was in hospital, he wouldn’t leave her side.
“And when she died it broke him.”
Rodney Starmer died in 2018, three years later.
Sir Keir said that after the death of Josephine, his father “lived but he never recovered”.
Morgan went on to ask the Labour leader if he managed to say everything he wanted to say to his mother as she was dying.
Sir Keir said: “No. And this is the tragedy when somebody loses the ability to speak, because you don’t know before they lose the ability to speak that that’s going to happen so you never have that conversation.”
Asked what he would have liked to say to his mother, the politician was visibly upset.
He replied: “I. Love. You.”
Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, with Sir Keir Starmer, airs at 9.30pm today on ITV.