Keir Starmer appointed PM after Labour triumph

Keir Starmer appointed PM after Labour triumph
Keir Starmer appointed PM after Labour triumph

This is the first time since 2010 that Labour (centre-left) will lead the country, after 14 years of Conservative governments and a succession of crises: austerity, Brexit, soaring prices and even a waltz of Prime Ministers.

As usual, Buckingham Palace published a photo of the sovereign receiving the new head of government.

After leaving Buckingham Palace, Keir Starmer, a 61-year-old former lawyer, is due to deliver his first words as Prime Minister outside 10 Downing Street.

Earlier in the morning, his predecessor Rishi Sunak, 44, made the return journey to present his resignation to the sovereign.

In his final speech as prime minister, he said he was “sorry” to the British people. “You have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change, and your judgment is the only one that counts,” he said, taking responsibility for the failure and announcing his imminent resignation as leader of the Conservative Party.

Among the first meetings awaiting Keir Starmer is the 75th anniversary summit of NATO next week in Washington.

“Change starts now,” he said at dawn, reiterating his promise of “national renewal.” “I don’t promise you it will be easy. It’s not enough to press a button to change a country. It takes hard work,” “patient,” “determined,” he said.

According to the almost complete results, Labour won 412 seats, well above the threshold of 326 to obtain an absolute majority in the House of Commons and be able to govern alone. This is just below Tony Blair’s historic score in 1997 (418).

The Conservative Party emerged with its worst result since the beginning of the 20th century: 121 MPs elected, compared to 365 five years ago under Boris Johnson.

Several Conservative heavyweights have been swept up in a wave of rejection, including former Prime Minister Liz Truss and Defence Minister Grant Shapps and Parliamentary Relations Minister Penny Mordaunt, who was seen as a possible future party leader.

Keir Starmer knows it: the British are waiting for him at the turn.

After “these last few difficult months and years,” Ramsey Sargent, 49, is eager “to see what’s going to happen.” “There’s enormous pressure on the new prime minister,” the 49-year-old told AFP.

Abdul Muqtvar, 40, said: “British politics has not made any progress in the last ten years or so. It will be interesting to see how Labour does.” “If they don’t, I think we will have another change of government at the next election.”

Throughout the campaign, Keir Starmer, who entered politics only nine years ago, promised a return to “stability” and “seriousness”, with very rigorous management of public spending.

The future government will have to make “difficult choices” given “the scale of the challenge”, warned Rachel Reeves, who is set to become Finance Minister, a first for a woman in the United Kingdom.

Keir Starmer promises to transform the country as he painstakingly turned Labour around after succeeding the far-left Jeremy Corbyn in 2020, refocusing the party on the economy and fighting anti-Semitism.

He says he wants to boost growth, fix public services, strengthen workers’ rights, reduce immigration and bring the United Kingdom closer to the European Union – without returning to Brexit, a taboo subject of the campaign.

After his party’s victory, he received congratulations from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who said the two countries would be allies “through thick and thin.”

French President Emmanuel Macron also congratulated Keir Starmer, after their “first exchange”. “We will continue the work (…) for our bilateral cooperation, for the peace and security of Europe, for the climate and AI,” Mr Macron wrote on X.

In this completely redesigned Parliament, the liberal democrats (centrists) once again become the third force, with 71 deputies.

In a major upset, the anti-immigration and anti-establishment party Reform UK entered Parliament with four seats. Its leader, hard-right figure Nigel Farage, became an MP on his eighth attempt.

The former Brexit herald hailed the start of a “revolt against the establishment”.

In Scotland, the Scottish National Party’s pro-independence supporters suffered a serious setback: they only won nine of the 57 constituencies.

The Greens won four seats, up from just one, in a House of Commons that will have a record number of at least 261 women, up from 220 in 2019.

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