Sir Keir Starmer reveals his history hero in an exclusive interview with BBC History Magazine

Thursday 8 June, 2023

The Labour Party Leader and MP for Holborn and St Pancras says he is inspired by the former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s “inner drive” and “keen sense of social justice”.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Leader of the Labour Party, reveals that Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady of the USA 1933–45, is his History Hero in an interview in the July issue of BBC History Magazine, out today (Thursday 8 June).

In the interview, Sir Keir Starmer says he first heard about Eleanor Roosevelt while studying Law at Leeds University, when he became “completely absorbed” by the work of the United Nations in the years after World War II.

Explaining the qualities that make Roosevelt his hero, Sir Keir Starmer lists her understanding of the power of international global co-operation, her compassion, and her civil rights activism.

“Keir Starmer is the latest in a series of prominent politicians we’ve interviewed about their history heroes, and I’m always fascinated to discover the people from the past that have inspired the leading figures of today. Previous examples include Betty Boothroyd nominating Clement Attlee, David Cameron choosing Douglas Bader, Jeremy Corbyn selecting Mary Wollstonecraft and Michael Howard exhorting Elizabeth I. ”

Rob Attar, Editor of BBC History Magazine

Headshot of Rob Attar, Editor, BBC History Magazine, Immediate Media Co.

These interviews can be found on our HistoryExtra website.

Asked what question he would have for Eleanor Roosevelt if he met her, Sir Keir Starmer says: “How she would ensure that the flames of human dignity and respect burnt as brightly today – when for instance, we have seen Russian forces display such barbarism in Ukraine – as they did in that intense period after WWII.”