Why is Keir Starmer a Sir? How the Labour leader got his knighthood

Sir Keir has been leading the Labour Party since April 2020, following Jeremy Corbyn's resignation.

Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to apologise to the nation over the Owen Paterson sleaze scandal, ahead of an emergency Commons debate on standards at Westminster.

Sir Keir took the helm from former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in April 2020.

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It's somewhat unusual for a Labour leader to have the title of Sir, so here’s how Sir Keir came to have it, as well as why he was missing from PMQs and Budget discussions on October 27th.

Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

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Where is Keir Starmer today?

Sir Keir announced on the morning of October 27th that he had tested positive for Covid on October 27th.

This meant that he was not able to answer PMQs or answer questions on the Budget 2022, announced on the same day by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

Instead, Ed Miliband attended the Prime Minister’s Questions and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves is expected to respond to the budget.

What is a knighthood?

There are various levels of Honours that can be awarded to people by the British monarch to reward them for services to the country.

A knighthood or a damehood is known as a GBE, which stands for Grand Cross of the British Empire.

Knighthoods are given to men, while damehoods are given to women.

The other Honours include CBE, or Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, OBE, or Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and MBE, or Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Why is Keir Starmer a Sir?

Before he was a politician, Sir Keir was a human rights defence lawyer, becoming Queen's Counsel and joint head of Doughty Street Chambers in 2002.

He also served as a human rights adviser to the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Association of Chief Police Officers.

In 2008, Sir Keir was named the new Head of the Crown Prosecution Service and Director of Public Prosecutions.

This role traditionally comes with a knighthood and was what led to Sir Keir receiving his title.

The position is an appointment that lasts for five years and plays a vital role in deciding which prosecutions are pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Sir Keir officially received his knighthood for "services to law and criminal justice" in 2014.

However, the Labour leader has been reluctant to use the title, even before entering politics.

Not only does the title not play that well with other Labour Party members and voters, but Sir Keir himself has said in interviews that he doesn’t like formal titles.

What is Sir Keir Starmer’s net worth?

Many people would expect anyone with a title to be worth a large amount of money, but that’s not always the case.

It’s also hard to put an exact number on someone else’s net worth, as there are so many variables and estimates to take into account.

For Sir Keir, most sources place his net worth around the £1 million mark, although this climbs to $11 million in 2021 according to Idol Net Worth.

In 2020, Sir Keir was criticised for owning land worth £10 million, which might account for this much higher number.

The land in question was bought while he was still a lawyer and before he went into politics, and was used as a sanctuary for his mother's rescue donkeys.


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