U.K.'s labour leader seeks election advice from Obama

September 23, 2023

Politico reports that Keir Starmer has been seeking election advice from former President Barack Obama. 

For those unfamiliar with Starmer, he has been the leader of Britain's Labour Party and Opposition since 2020. And, now, he has his sights set on becoming the United Kingdom's next prime minister.

To this end, Politico reports that Starmer has been "rubbing shoulders" with top progressives, including Obama.

Per the outlet:

Within the past few days, Starmer has met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and French President Emmanuel Macron. Most eye-catchingly of all, he revealed a series of private conversations with former U.S. President Barack Obama.

"Behind closed doors"

Politico reports that these meetups have been taking place "behind closed doors."

The outlet reports:

Behind closed doors, Starmer has been picking the brains of some of the 21st century’s highest-profile progressive leaders on how to govern — and how to win. “He is always asking ‘What are they doing? What can we learn from that? And what do we disregard?’” a senior Labour Party official said.

Politico's report also details some of the things that Starmer has specifically spoken about with Obama.

According to the outlet, "Starmer told POLITICO’s Power Play podcast that he has spoken 'a number of times' to Obama about the challenges he faced as president and how the U.K. might learn from them."

Politico then quotes Starmer, who said:

[Obama is] an acute observer of politics in the U.K., is completely across what’s happening and I think it is always useful to test my ideas on people who’ve won elections, people who’ve taken difficult decisions in power — because that helps me think about how we might approach some of the decisions we might have to take if we do win that election.

Looking ahead

It does appear as though Britain is heading toward a general election.

A recent Ipsos poll found that the overwhelming majority of British adults want new leadership, and a smaller majority want an election to be held before June of next year.

British conservatives are doing particularly poorly in the polls. Rishi Sunak, the country's current prime minister, currently has a record low net satisfaction rating of -44.

This, however, is not to say that Starmer - or the Labour Party - is doing that great in the polls. Starmer currently has a net satisfaction rating of -22, and support for the Labour Party has dropped in recent months, although it has a 20-point lead over the Conservatives.

It currently is unclear how this situation is going to play out.

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