I am not a reader of the Daily Mail or the Mail on Sunday, but Twitter drew my attention to an article in the latter “newspaper” with the headline “Man of the people? New Labour leader Sir Keir owns land worth up to £10m”. It refers to the fact that Keir Starmer owns seven acres of land next to the house in which he grew up. They say that it is “attracting interest from developers”. Apparently, an unspecified neighbour claimed an estate agent was seen showing a developer around the site, although it doesn’t have planning permission, and Starmer says it has never been shown to a developer. They then go on to make various references to Keir Starmer’s comfortable financial position, as if it is something of which he should be thoroughly ashamed. They do mention that a spokesman for Starmer told them that the field was purchased by Sir Keir for his mother to house rescued donkeys that his parents cared for, but this is not a prominent part of the story.
It occurred to me that it was strange that being a multimillionaire apparently makes you unfit to be Labour leader, while it’s virtually a requirement to be part of the Tory cabinet. Values for net worth gleaned through Google searches are not likely to be very accurate, but it does seem that there are many very wealthy Tory ministers. Boris Johnson is reckoned to worth at least $4 million, while the Chancellor Rishi Sunak and his wife own a property portfolio worth about £10 million. Even the unimpressive Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is said to be worth $11 million, and the eternally irritating Home Secretary Priti Patel comes in at an astounding £3 million! Unsurprisingly, it seems difficult to find a figure for the slippery Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove, but the Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland is reckoned to be worth a cool $96.7 million! The feeble Health Secretary Matt Hancock was said to have a net worth around $1-3 million in 2019. It is difficult to find figures for many of the less well known “stars” in the Tory firmament, but I was surprised to find that Robert Jenrick, ironically the Housing Secretary, owns with his wife a Manor House in Hertfordshire worth £1.1 million in 2009, as well as two properties in London each worth over £2 million.
Apart from the donkey field, Keir Starmer’s net worth is thought to be around £4 million. It seems to me totally irrelevant to his ability to lead the Labour Party, and if smears like the one mentioned are the best the Tory Press can do, I don’t think he has much to worry about. This tweet includes the article to which I refer with an unflattering comparison to the property holdings of Viscount Rothermere (owner of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday). Could it be that the Mail on Sunday’s attempts to denigrate Keir Starmer have anything to do with the fact that he is currently destroying Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Question Time? I’ll let you decide.