Labour have cancelled tomorrow’s leadership hustings after Keir Starmer’s mother-in-law was taken critically ill in intensive care.
The Labour leadership hopeful has cancelled all campaign events for the whole weekend after an accident involving his wife Victoria’s mother.
Last night Labour’s Procedures Committee agreed unanimously not to go ahead with an 11.30am showdown in Leeds, to show fairness to Sir Keir.
There will still be 11 more hustings, with the next scheduled for Bristol on February 1.
General Secretary Jennie Formby said in an e-mail: “You will all be aware that Keir’s mother-in-law is critically ill in hospital following a serious accident.
“Keir and his family are at her side and he will not be able to make the Leadership hustings in Leeds tomorrow morning.
“The Procedures Committee unanimously agreed last night that in the circumstances and to ensure fairness to all candidates, the hustings will be cancelled, although the deputy Leadership hustings will continue as planned.”
We have sent our very best wishes and solidarity to Keir and his family, and our hope that his mother-in-law recovers very soon.
There are four candidates left in the Labour leadership race – frontrunner Sir Keir, left-wing favourite Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry.
All but Ms Thornberry are guaranteed to be on the members’ ballot which opens next month and closes in the first week of April.
The Unite union will declare who it supports tonight – with anyone other than Ms Long-Bailey representing a major upset.
The union is going ahead with its decision with Sir Keir’s blessing. The candidate sent Chester MP Chris Matheson as a representative in his place.
Sir Keir, 57, cancelled campaign events to support his family after the incident, the details of which have not been released.
A spokesman for the Labour leadership hopeful issued a statement at lunchtime yesterday, which said: “Following an accident, Keir Starmer’s mother-in-law is critically ill and has been admitted to hospital in intensive care.
“In order to support his family at this difficult time, Keir will be cancelling all campaign events today and tomorrow.
“We ask that his family’s privacy is respected at this time.”
An updated statement today said: “Further to yesterday’s statement, Keir will be cancelling all campaign events this weekend. We ask that his family’s privacy is respected at this time.”
Former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Keir married his wife Victoria in 2007. The couple have two children and live in North London, according to the Ham & High.
The Labour leadership candidate keeps his family out of the public eye and does not generally comment on his private life.
However, he has spoken about how his upbringing shaped his politics.
Sir Keir recently told the Mirror how his own mother’s illness forced him to confront the importance of Britain’s health service.
He said: “My mum contracted Stills disease when she was 11. It’s when your immune system turns on itself.
“She was told she wouldn’t be able to walk when she was in her 20s.
“She was the longest patient on steroids in the history of Britain.
“It allowed her to walk in her 20s and 30s. It took a terrible toll on her.
“I spent a lot of my time in high-dependency units with my mum watching nurses saving her life.
“I saw that as a child, I saw it as a teenager. It is very, very personal.”