Sir Keir’s (Private) School Days and Old Boys’ Club Dinners

The descent of Labour leadership elections into the Four Yorkshiremen Sketch – with each candidate vying to show off their working-class credentials – is fun to watch. Keir Starmer has one of the toughest jobs, given his dad was a Surrey-living, Aga-owning, Buckingham Palace-attending businessman and he himself is constantly trying to remove references to his millionaire status from his Wikipedia profile.

The BBC recently wrote of the contenders’ class statuses:

“The “posh school” reference is harder to pin down – Jess Phillips and Sir Keir went to state grammar schools, but none of the contenders was privately educated.”

Other profiles of Keir also mention his passing of the 11+ before going to university. However, this overlooks a crucial fact: Keir Starmer’s Reigate Grammar School was a fee-paying independent school in his third year. When Keir joined in 1974, the school had been a state grammar for 30 years, however in 1976 it went private and according to their website of ‘notable Reigatians’ Starmer stayed on at the fee-paying school until 1981. Starmer is happy to leave journalists with the impression that he went to a state school. Today his old school charges £20,000 a year…

Whilst he might now like to downplay his posh upbringing – playing violin with Norman Quentin Cook (better known as Fat Boy Slim) and acting in school plays on the same stage that David Walliams first learnt his trade – Guido can also reveal Starmer is still very active in the Reigatian Old Boys’ Club. A co-conspirator passed Guido this picture of Starmer attending the ‘Chairman’s Amicable Dinner’ for former pupils, held at the gilded Reform Club in St James’s. Sir Keir held court after having someone get an emergency bow-tie for him because he had just “hot-footed it from Heathrow in a cab”.

He attends old boy reunions regularly. The picture below was taken at the 2017 dinner at the men’s-only East India Club – the St James’s private members’ club of which Nigel Farage is a member.

He also returned to his school in 2014 to talk to law students and, as of 2016, continues to be an “Ambassador for the [Reigate Grammar School] Foundation”. Clearly he’s very proud of his posh school…

He returned to the private school once again in 2016 for the funeral of his former headmaster, where Sir Keir led the final champagne-fuelled “fitting toast” of “silly sod!”. Rah, rah, rah!

Appropriately, five days ago Rebecca Long-Bailey called for an end to “gentlemen’s club” politics. Unfortunately for her, it seems Labour are about to elect their second posh, male, privately-educated leader in a row…

Guido has contacted Starmer’s office for comment…

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