Harriet Harman has said it is “downright embarrassing” Labour has never had a woman leader.
The veteran MP, who served as deputy Labour leader between 2007 and 2015, said Starmer’s successor had to be female.
“We’re not going to be having a leadership election any time soon, I’m strongly supportive of Keir Starmer, I want him to get elected and be prime minister,” she told GB News.
“But, actually as and when we do in the far-distant future have a leadership election, it has got to be a woman the next time round because it’s just downright embarrassing that the Conservatives have had two and we haven’t even had a woman leader in opposition, let alone a woman prime minister.”
Harman, who has been in parliament since 1982, is standing down as MP for Camberwell and Peckham at the next election.
She said the party had “lots of excellent women who could step forward for being leader”.
She added: “So yeah, like, next time. I’m always saying next time.”
Harman also spoke about the grief of losing her husband Jack Dromey “out of the blue” when he died in January.
Asked about how she was coping, she said: “I’m not entirely sure what the answer to that question is because it’s just six months since he died.
“I feel that widowhood is something that happens to most women who’ve married or have got a partner, widowhood does happen to them.
“But there’s a real mystery to me in terms of … how do you kind of go forward in your life?”
Father-of-three and Labour MP Dromey died suddenly from heart failure in his flat in his Birmingham Erdington constituency six months ago.
The couple married in 1982. Harman said: “I’ve got children, I’ve got grandchildren, I’ve got my constituents, so in a way I’ve got no option but what they describe as ‘crack on’.
“I’m like cracking on … I know that that’s what Jack would be wanting me to be doing”.