New UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer vows to ‘rebuild’ country – 05/07/2024 at 18:50

New UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer vows to ‘rebuild’ country – 05/07/2024 at 18:50
New UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer vows to ‘rebuild’ country – 05/07/2024 at 18:50

New British Prime Minister Keir Starmer outside 10 Downing Street on July 5, 2024 in London (AFP / HENRY NICHOLLS)

The new British Prime Minister Keir Starmer announced the composition of his government on Friday after promising to “rebuild” the United Kingdom, whose political page is turning with the return of Labour to power.

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.

“We will rebuild” the United Kingdom, the 61-year-old new leader declared on the steps of 10 Downing Street after being tasked by King Charles III with forming a government, the composition of which was unveiled in the afternoon.

Atypical personalities from the field and women in the highest responsibilities, the new team in power, “at the service” of the British, illustrates the change that Keir Starmer wants to embody and the image of seriousness that he wants to project.

His number two in particular, Deputy Prime Minister for Housing Angela Rayner, aged 44, who comes from a very disadvantaged background and left school at 16, stands out in the British political landscape.

Former Bank of England economist Rachel Reeves, popular in business circles, becomes finance minister, the first woman to hold this post in the country.

David Lammy, a descendant of slaves who has been very critical of former US President Donald Trump, has been appointed Foreign Secretary.

New British Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria, outside 10 Downing Street, on July 5, 2024 in London (AFP / HENRY NICHOLLS)

Arriving beaming at Downing Street, Mr Starmer, a former human rights lawyer, received hugs and congratulations from dozens of his supporters.

He vowed to fight “day after day” to “unite” the country and ensure that Britons can once again believe in a better future for their children, citing education and housing.

Faced with the “challenges of a precarious world”, he committed to a “calm and patient reconstruction”. “Our work is urgent, and we begin it today”, he added before crossing the threshold of 10 Downing Street with his wife Victoria.

King Charles III receives the new British Prime Minister Keir Starmer at Buckingham Palace on July 5, 2024 in London (POOL / Yui Mok)

“I don’t promise you that it will be easy. It’s not enough to press a button to change a country,” he warned, however, when his victory was announced.

Especially since the Labour wave does not completely mask some less radiant nuances, such as the low popularity of the new Prime Minister, a victory obtained by gathering only a third of the votes at the national level, or the votes and seats lost because of Labour’s position on the conflict in Gaza.

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 was reduced to 121 MPs from 365 five years ago, its worst defeat in a century. Several party heavyweights were defeated.

“You have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change, and your judgment is the only one that matters,” Rishi Sunak told Britons in his final speech as prime minister after 20 months in power, saying he was “sorry”. He announced his imminent resignation as leader of the Conservative Party.

– “difficult choices” –

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

He knows it: there will be no honeymoon.

New British Prime Minister Keir Starmer delivers a speech outside 10 Downing Street on July 5, 2024 in London (AFP / Paul ELLIS)

After “these last few difficult months and years,” Ramsey Sargent, 49, is eager “to see what’s going to happen.” “There’s a lot of 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. It will be interesting to see how Labour does.”

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.

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.

– Unprecedented Parliament –

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

Nigel Farage (c), leader of the anti-immigration and anti-establishment Reform UK party, is elected MP for Clacton-on-Sea, in eastern England, on July 5, 2024 (AFP / HENRY NICHOLLS)

In a major upheaval, the anti-immigration and anti-system party Reform UK is entering with five MPs, including its leader, the hard-right figure Nigel Farage.

In Scotland, the Scottish National Party’s pro-independence party suffered a serious setback, holding on to only 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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