The Labour leader opened up to Metro about his 11-year-old daughter’s bid for a pet dog, but confirmed that she has had to settle for Bear instead.
The shy hamster, whose existence can be revealed for the first time today, was unavailable for a photo shoot and is understood to be focussed on staying away from the Starmers’ cat.
That raises questions about the chances of him joining Larry the cat in the Downing Street pet department, if Labour takes power.
It is also unclear if the hamster could get behind the wheel on the way to becoming the first of his species to live at his would-be new home.
But the youngest of Sir Keir’s two children will hope she can drive through her pet project: getting Bear into Number 10.
In a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Metro, Sir Keir also took aim at Rishi Sunak for being an architect of ‘the mess’ Britain finds itself in – and addressed criticism that he is boring.
Again calling for an early election, Sir Keir urged Labour to avoid complacency as it gets set for what may be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to claim a landslide victory.
But it is the light-hearted insight into family life that will interest pet lovers across the nation – though many will note that hamsters do not often live much beyond three years.
The leader of the opposition explained a ‘tough decision’ will have to be made on whether to keep Bear in Kentish Town if they move into Downing Street.
‘Our daughter has been running a campaign for a dog for a number of years,’ Sir Keir, 60, said.
‘She has gone down the hamster route, so we now have a hamster called Bear for one reason or another… We are going to have to make a big decision about Bear’s future.’
Laughing at the idea of the hamster being a companion to Downing Street’s chief mouser, Larry, the Labour leader added: ‘We have got a cat and trying to keep the hamster and the cat apart has been one of the major issues of the last few weeks.
Sir Keir’s plans for power and being a ‘serious’ leader
Elsewhere, Sir Keir once again rejected calls for a new voting system, branding proportional representation ‘not a priority’ – despite suggestions that it could lock the Tories out of power indefinitely.
He instead listed a three-part plan for day one in power: restoring faith in economic institutions, a windfall tax on oil and gas companies and implementing a credible growth plan.
Challenged on whether Labour’s vision is radical enough to turn the country around, the party leader vowed to be ‘bold but responsible’ if he wins the next general election.
But despite a recent poll surge amid Tory chaos, some on the Labour left remain angry that Sir Keir appears to have backtracked on the promises he made while campaigning to become their leader.
They believe he is not being bold enough, with some suggesting he and his platform come across as boring.
Rubbishing the idea that people want a ‘few more one liners’ to get the economy moving, Sir Keir responded: ‘I have not yet discovered anyone who said: “I really liked the excitement of that kamikaze mini-budget, yes it has cost me a few hundred pounds every month on my mortgage but it was very exciting.”’
Asked why he thinks some leftists have branded him ‘Keith’ – in a niche ‘Karen’-like reference – Sir Keir swatted away the nickname.
‘I have no idea,’ he said.
‘I don’t really see it and couldn’t care less.’
After admitting yesterday to LBC that he once got a detention for fighting, he declined to reveal the naughtiest thing he has ever done.
’Anybody in public life who answers that honestly hasn’t got their heads screwed on,’ he laughed.
Sir Keir believes he is being bold but stresses that every decision the party takes should be based on whether it makes winning power more likely.
He has previously said he is willing to drop some of his leadership campaign promises to get to Number 10 – with or without Bear.