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UK general election: Labour’s Keir Starmer assembles new Cabinet after vowing to rebuild Britain

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Rachel Reeves was confirmed as Britain’s first woman chancellor, Angela Rayner is Keir’s deputy prime minister and retained the levelling up, housing and communities brief, and Yvette Cooper is Home Secretary.

David Lammy was appointed foreign secretary, putting to bed some speculation over whether he would get the post he shadowed in opposition.

The first surprise in the assembly of the Labour leader’s top team was the promotion of Lisa Nandy to culture secretary, after the holder of the brief in his shadow cabinet, Thangam Debbonaire, lost her seat to the Green Party.

Today’s News in 90 Seconds – July 5th

Otherwise, the Cabinet mirrors Mr starmer’s shadow team, including Pat McFadden, who played a central role in shaping Labour’s election campaign, being named Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, John Healey defence secretary, Shabana Mahmood justice secretary, Wes Streeting health secretary, Bridget Phillipson education secretary and Ed Miliband energy secretary.

Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry will not take on the post in Government, with Mr Starmer instead choosing barrister Richard Hermer KC. It is not a Cabinet position but Mr Hermer will attend Cabinet meetings.

Mr Starmer also appointed Alan Campbell as chief whip, Darren Jones as chief secretary to the Treasury, they will also attend Cabinet meetings.

Lucy Powell will be Leader of the House of Commons, while Baroness Smith of Basildon will be Leader of the House of Lords.

In his first speech on Downing Street, Mr Starmer said the British people had voted “decisively for change”.

He said the country could “move forward together” as Labour took office following 14 years of Conservative rule.

He said: “Now our country has voted decisively for change, for national renewal and a return of politics to public service.

“When the gap between the sacrifices made by people and the service they receive from politicians grows this big, it leads to a weariness in the heart of a nation, a draining away of the hope, the spirit, the belief in a better future.

“But we need to move forward together. Now this wound, this lack of trust can only be healed by actions not words, I know that.

“But we can make a start today with the simple acknowledgement that public service is a privilege and that your government should treat every single person in this country with respect.”

He said “my Government will serve you, politics can be a force for good”, adding: “The work of change begins immediately, but have no doubt, we will rebuild Britain.”

Following a brutal set of results for the Conservatives, Rishi Sunak announced he would quit as Tory leader and used his final speech in Downing Street to apologise to the British people and the Conservative Party.

After 648 of the 650 Commons seats had been declared, Labour had a majority of 176.

Labour had 412 seats and the Tories 121, the worst result in the party’s history.

But low turnout underlined Mr Starmer’s message about the need to rebuild trust in the political system after 14 years of Tory rule marred by the Partygate scandal and the chaos of Conservative infighting which saw David Cameron followed in quick succession by Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and, finally, Mr Sunak.

The turnout figure stood at 59.85pc, the lowest at a general election since 2001.

Meanwhile, US president Joe Biden has congratulated Keir Starmer and said he looks forward to “further strengthening the special relationship” with the UK.

Both the White House and Downing Street have confirmed the two leaders shared a phone call earlier to day where they “reaffirmed the special relationship between our nations and the importance of working together in support of freedom and democracy around the world”.

A spokesperson in Washington said Mr Biden “conveyed that he is looking forward” to working closely with Prime Minister “on the full range of critical issues that affect our countries and committed to deepening U.S.-UK cooperation in the many areas of our shared interest.”

This included reiterating their continued support for Ukraine against Russian aggression and their commitment “to protecting the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and working with the leaders of Northern Ireland to create and sustain economic growth and opportunities.”

The two leaders said they look forward to meeting at the Nato summit next week.

Key updates

Listen to The Indo Daily podcast for incisive analysis of the UK general election results https://www.independent.ie/podcasts/the-indo-daily/the-indo-daily-are-ireland-and-nigel-farage-the-big-winners-in-labours-uk-election-victory/a1076580945.html

Sunak to quit as Tory leader after Labour landslide as he tenders PM resignation to Britain’s King Charles Rishi Sunak has apologised after leading the Conservatives to their worst ever election result as a Labour landslide swept Sir Keir Starmer to No 10. The outgoing prime minister said he would quit as Tory leader once arrangements are in place to choose his successor, potentially triggering another round of Conservative infighting as MPs scramble to replace him. Mr Starmer will become prime minister after a Tory rout which saw former premier Liz Truss and a dozen serving Cabinet members lose their seats. In a statement outside No 10, Mr Sunak said: “I will shortly be seeing His Majesty the King to offer my resignation as Prime Minister. “To the country, I would like to say first and foremost, I am sorry. “I have given this job my all, but you have sent a clear signal that the Government of the United Kingdom must change. And yours is the only judgment that matters. “I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.” After 648 of the 650 Commons seats had been declared, Labour had a majority of 176. Labour had 412 seats and the Tories 121. Mr Sunak said: “Following this result I will step down as party leader – not immediately, but once the formal arrangements for selecting my successor are in place. “It is important that, after 14 years in government, the Conservative Party rebuilds, but also that it takes up its crucial role in opposition professionally and effectively.” He added: “This is a difficult day at the end of a number of difficult days. But I leave this job honoured to have been your Prime Minister. “This is the best country in the world. And it is thanks entirely to you, the British people, the true source of all our achievements, our strengths and our greatness.” After speaking in Downing Street, Mr Sunak travelled by car to Buckingham Palace to resign as Prime Minister. After he leaves, Mr Starmer will go to see the King to accept the responsibility of forming a government. It comes after a dramatic night: – Ms Truss lost to Labour in Norfolk South West, where she had been defending a notional majority of more than 24,000. – Twelve ministers who sat around the Cabinet table were ousted, comfortably exceeding the previous record of seven set in 1997. – Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Welsh Secretary David TC Davies, Transport Secretary Mark Harper, Attorney General Victoria Prentis and veterans minister Johnny Mercer lost to Labour. – Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, Science Secretary Michelle Donelan, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer and Illegal Immigration Minister Michael Tomlinson lost to the Liberal Democrats. – Chief whip Simon Hart lost to Plaid Cymru. – Tory deputy chairman Jonathan Gullis and former cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg were beaten by Labour. – But party chairman Richard Holden won by just 20 votes in Basildon and Billericay and outgoing Chancellor Jeremy Hunt held off a Lib Dem challenge in Godalming and Ash. – Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn held on to his seat as an independent. – Reform UK leader Nigel Farage won a Commons seat at his eighth attempt and promised his party would “stun all of you” as it picked up four Commons seats. – The Greens also picked up four seats, including co-leader Carla Denyer defeating shadow culture secretary Thangam Debbonaire in Bristol Central. – Shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth, who played a prominent role in the party’s media campaign, lost his seat to an independent as Labour’s stance on Gaza cost them votes. Mr Sunak then tendered his resignation as PM to Britain’s King Charles at Buckingham Palace. A statement from Buckingham Palace said: “The Right Honourable Rishi Sunak MP had an audience of The King this morning and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, which His Majesty was graciously pleased to accept.” Later Mr Starmer will meet the king and offer to form a new government.

Checking in to our live blog? Here is the latest from overnight… Tory downfall and Labour landslide The Conservatives have experienced their worst election result ever. Keir Starmer will be the UK’s new Labour prime minister after a Conservative rout saw former premier Liz Truss and a dozen serving Cabinet members lose their seats. Outgoing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he took responsibility for the electoral mauling inflicted on his party as it suffered its worst ever result.   DUP losses in Northern Ireland The DUP has suffered a bruising set of election results in Northern Ireland, with the party suffering a seismic shock when Ian Paisley lost his family seat in North Antrim. In a difficult night for the unionist party, the Alliance Party’s Sorcha Eastwood also had a historic result as she triumphed in the DUP stronghold of Lagan Valley – the seat formerly held by party leader Jeffrey Donaldson. Reform Reform has secured four MPs so far, including the party leader’s victory in Clacton, Essex. Nigel Farage has won a UK parliamentary seat at his eighth attempt and hailed the prospect of a “huge” General Election result for Reform UK. The party leader was declared MP for Clacton shortly after Lee Anderson became Reform’s first MP of the night. Record number of women A record number of female MPs will sit in the House of Commons following the General Election. As of 7.30am on Friday, 261 female MPs had been elected – representing 40pc of the Commons – and the number may increase as counts continue across the UK. The figure passes the previous record of 220 women MPs at the election in 2019. The number of female MPs has risen at each of the past six elections.

From growing up in ‘squalor’ to becoming deputy UK Labour leader – meet unapologetic socialist scrapper Angela Raynor https://www.independent.ie/world-news/britain/angela-rayner-who-is-labours-new-red-queen/a170393150.html?bcrFallback=bcrFallback

At a glance: Northern Ireland’s 2024 General Election winners and losers

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Liz Truss and more… Here are the big name Conservative losers in UK election

DUP despair: Shock loss for Ian Paisley in ‘political earthquake’, and party loses seat formerly held by Jeffrey Donaldson

Pat Stacey reviews live UK election coverage: Swingometers, flashy graphics and a peek inside Jacob Rees-Mogg’s home

Rebuilding ‘brick by brick’

The UK’s new prime minister Keir Starmer promised to rebuild trust in politics and restore hope to the nation after a landslide Labour victory in the General Election.

In his first speech in Downing Street, Mr Starmer said the British people had voted “decisively for change”.

He said the country could “move forward together” as Labour took office following 14 years of Conservative rule.

He said: “Now our country has voted decisively for change, for national renewal and a return of politics to public service.

“When the gap between the sacrifices made by people and the service they receive from politicians grows this big, it leads to a weariness in the heart of a nation, a draining away of the hope, the spirit, the belief in a better future.

“But we need to move forward together. Now this wound, this lack of trust can only be healed by actions not words, I know that.

“But we can make a start today with the simple acknowledgement that public service is a privilege and that your government should treat every single person in this country with respect.”

He said “my Government will serve you, politics can be a force for good”, adding: “The work of change begins immediately, but have no doubt, we will rebuild Britain.”

Following a brutal set of results for the Conservatives, Rishi Sunak announced he would quit as Tory leader and used his final speech in Downing Street to apologise to the British people and the Conservative Party.

After 648 of the 650 Commons seats had been declared, Labour had a majority of 176.

Labour had 412 seats and the Tories 121, the worst result in the party’s history.

But low turnout underlined Starmer’s message about the need to rebuild trust in the political system after 14 years of Tory rule marred by the Partygate scandal and the chaos of Conservative infighting which saw David Cameron followed in quick succession by Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and, finally, Mr Sunak.

After 648 of 650 results had been declared, the turnout figure stood at 59.85%, the lowest turnout at a general election since 2001.

Starmer said: “Changing a country is not like flicking a switch. The world is now a more volatile place. This will take a while.

“But have no doubt that the work of change begins immediately. Have no doubt that we will rebuild Britain, with wealth created in every community.

“Our NHS back on its feet facing the future. Secure borders, safer streets, everyone treated with dignity and respect at work. The opportunity of clean British power, cutting your energy bills for good.

“Brick by brick, we will rebuild the infrastructure of opportunity.”

Starmer officially becomes prime minister after meeting king

Labour leader Keir Starmer has officially become prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Mr Starmer received the blessing of King Charles III to form a government in a ceremony known as the “kissing of hands.”

A photo of the occasion served as the official announcement of Mr Starmer’s new title.

Mr Starmer is now headed from Buckingham Palace to take up residence in No. 10 Downing Street, where he is expected to speak.

He replaces Conservative prime minister Rishi Sunak, who offered his resignation to Charles after his party that ruled for 14 years was swept from power in a Labour landslide.

Mr Sunak in his farewell remarks said he had heard the anger and disappointment of voters and took responsibility for his party’s loss.

Joe Biden congratulated Keir Starmer on his appointment as prime minister when the two leaders spoke today, the White House said.

“The leaders reaffirmed the special relationship between our nations and the importance of working together in support of freedom and democracy around the world,” according to a readout of the call.

“The President conveyed that he is looking forward to working closely with Prime Minister Starmer on the full range of critical issues that affect our countries and committed to deepening US-UK cooperation in the many areas of our shared interest.”

The two leaders spoke about their continued support for Ukraine and their shared commitment to protecting the gains of the Good Friday Agreement and working with the leaders of Northern Ireland on economic growth and opportunities.

“The President looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Starmer to the Washington Summit next week to celebrate Nato’s 75th anniversary,” the statement added.

Patrick Vallance, who was chief scientific adviser to the government during the Covid-19 pandemic, has been appointed a Minister of State for science in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

He will also be made a peer.

Mr Vallance has backed Labour’s flagship manifesto pledge to set up a publicly owned energy firm.

James Timpson OBE of Timpson shoe repairs will also be made a peer as well as Minister of State for Prisons, Parole and Probation in the Ministry of Justice.

He has advocated for employing former prisoners.

Northern Ireland First Minister Michelle O’Neill has said she raised health funding and Casement Park with British prime minister Keir Starmer when they spoke on Friday evening in the wake of Labour’s election victory.

“We discussed the need to reset British-Irish relations and in particular with our local Executive,” she said in a post on X. “I strongly made the case for fair funding to be urgently provided for health, education, and public services here.

“The cuts that our people and public services have endured under a Tory government for over a decade must end now.

“I also reiterated the necessity for immediate funding to be released to build Casement Park, allowing us to seize the enormous economic opportunities created by Euro 2028.

“I urged the Prime Minister to follow through on his commitments to bin the Tories’ shameful Legacy Act which has failed victims and survivors.

“I will continue to press the British government on the things that matter most people, delivering for public services and all our communities as we engage in the days ahead.”

Keir Starmer has appointed Alan Campbell as chief whip and Darren Jones as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Barrister Richard Hermer KC will become Attorney General rather than Emily Thornberry, who was shadow attorney general when Labour was in opposition.

They will all attend Cabinet and Mr Hermer will become a lifetime peer, Downing Street said.

The Tanaiste has said there is an opportunity to “reset” Anglo-Irish relations after speaking with the new British Foreign Secretary David Lammy.

“I was pleased to speak this evening with the new UK Foreign Secretary David Lammy and to congratulate him on Labour’s election victory and his appointment to his new role,” Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said.

“We agreed that there is now a significant opportunity for a reset of our bilateral relationship. Now is a moment to embrace the spirit of partnership that we know can and does deliver for the people who call these islands home. 

“We face challenges and we face opportunities, from the local to the global, from the Middle East to Ukraine, from positive UK engagement with the EU, to defending the multilateral order.

“There is much for us to discuss and I am looking forward to engaging on all these issues with the Foreign Secretary over the period ahead.

“Our countries share a relationship that is as rich as it is important. We are near neighbours with close cultural connections. We are significant trading partners with countless family ties, reaching across these islands.

“Most critically, together, the British and Irish Governments are co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement. I look forward to building on that foundation to ensure positive progress together and to take forward our shared agenda.”

US President Joe Biden has congratulated Keir Starmer and said he looks forward to “further strengthening the special relationship” with the UK.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Biden said: “Congratulations to Prime Minister Keir Starmer on becoming Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

“I look forward to our shared work in support of freedom and democracy around the world, and to further strengthening the special relationship between our two countries.”

UK prime minister Keir Starmer has appointed leaders of the upper and lower houses of Parliament.

Lucy Powell will be Leader of the House of Commons. Ms Powell, MP for Manchester Central, will also be Lord President of the Council.

Baroness Smith of Basildon will be Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal.

Both previously served in the shadow cabinet in the same roles.

Starmer meets king Charles
The UK’s king Charles told Keir Starmer he “must be exhausted” and “nearly on your knees” during a private audience with the prime minister on Friday.

Charles played a central role during the busy aftermath of the general election, which left the Conservatives reeling following a crushing defeat by the Labour Party, which won by a landslide.

Keir was welcomed at Buckingham Palace for a private audience with the monarch on his appointment as PM.

He swept into the palace just after noon in a chauffeur-driven car and was joined by his wife Victoria Starmer, who works in occupational health for the NHS.

They were then greeted at the king’s Door by Clive Alderton, principal private secretary to the King and Queen, and Commander William Thornton, Royal Navy, equerry to the King.

Keir later had a private audience with the King who invited him to form a new administration.

In a video shared by Buckingham Palace, the PM could be seen entering the private audience room where shook hands with Charles.

Charles said: “You must be exhausted and nearly on your knees.”

Keir responded: “Not much sleep”.

Later in the meeting, the PM highlighted the “quick change around” since the results were first announced, to which the King remarked: “To say the least. And having to get to grips with everything straight away must be quite exhausting.”

Their historic meeting saw Keir follow Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to become the head of state’s third prime minister.

In the first surprise of Keir Starmer’s Cabinet assembly, Lisa Nandy was promoted to Culture Secretary.

It comes after the holder of the brief in his shadow cabinet, Thangam Debbonaire, lost her Bristol Central seat to the Green Party.

Ms Nandy was previously shadow cabinet minister for international development, having been demoted from shadow levelling up secretary in the Labour leader’s last reshuffle in 2023.

Other expected appointments announced by Downing Street saw Steve Reed named 
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, Hilary Benn Northern Ireland Secretary, Ian Murray Scotland Secretary and Jo Stevens Secretary of State for Wales.

Lisa Nandy has been promoted to Culture Secretary in Keir Starmer’s top team after the holder of the brief in his shadow cabinet, Thangam Debbonaire, lost her seat to the Green Party.

Recount
Reform UK have won a fifth seat in the UK general election after a recount in the Basildon South and East Thurrock constituency.

James McMurdock won the seat with a majority of just 98 votes from Labour candidate Jack Ferguson.

Dublin woman elected MP
A Dublin woman has been elected as a MP in the UK General election after securing her seat in the Ealing Southall constituency in London for the first time yesterday.

Deirdre Costigan was born in Greenhills in Dublin 12, where she lived until her emigration to the UK in the 1990’s.

Throughout her career in UK politics, she has campaigned on platforms of equality and environmental sustainability. She is also Vice Chair of the Labour Party Irish Society.

The Ealing Southall election results showed a landslide victory for Ms Costigan, who won the seat with 23,000 votes, 49pc. The second most popular candidate, Conservative Georgie Callé, won just 15pc of the vote.

The next batch of Cabinet appointments announced by No 10 saw Shabana Mahmood named Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.

The former barrister, a key ally of the new Prime Minister, held on to her Birmingham Ladywood seat despite a challenge from an pro-Gaza Independent candidate.

Wes Streeting is the new Health Secretary after clinging on to his Ilford North seat by just a few hundred votes.

Bridget Phillipson has been appointed Education Secretary.

She became the first MP elected overnight as her constituency, Houghton and Sunderland South, was the first to declare results.

Keir Starmer also appointed Ed Miliband Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.

The MP for Doncaster North led the Labour party from 2010 to 2015.

Keir Starmer has named Liz Kendall Work and Pensions Secretary, Downing Street said as it announced the latest Cabinet appointments.

Jonathan Reynolds is Business and Trade Secretary and the president of the Board of Trade.

The new Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology is Peter Kyle.

Louise Haigh was made Transport Secretary, with all retaining the roles they held in the shadow cabinet.

As Mr Starmer’s first Cabinet announcements trickle in, David Lammy has been appointed as Foreign Secretary.

There had been some questions over whether he would keep the role he held in the shadow cabinet after he kept a relatively low profile during the election campaign.

Yvette Cooper has been named Home Secretary and John Healey is the Defence Secretary, No 10 said.

Pat McFadden has been appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

As national campaign coordinator, he has played a central role in shaping Labour’s direction in the run-up to the election.

Rachel Reeves has been appointed Keir Starmer’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, becoming the first woman to take charge of the Treasury.

The former Bank of England economist retains the brief she held in the shadow cabinet, as expected

First Cabinet pick
Keir Starmer has appointed Angela Rayner as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the first pick for his new Cabinet.

The Ashton-under-Lyne MP has also been named his Deputy Prime Minister, Downing Street has said.

Ms Rayner has served as Sir Keir’s deputy leader since 2020.

Labour MPs have begun arriving at 10 Downing Street as Keir Starmer begins to select his cabinet for the new UK Government.
Deputy leader Angela Rayner, Rachel Reeves and Wes Streeting were among the senior Labour Party members seen arriving at Downing Street after Labour secured a historic election landslide.

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