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Keir Starmer: Labour leader to become UK prime minister

Keir Starmer: Labour leader to become UK prime minister

Keir Starmer: Labour leader to become UK prime minister

  • Author, Pablo Seddon
  • Role, Political reporter

Sir Keir Starmer is set to become the UK’s first Labour prime minister since 2010 following his party’s landslide victory in the general election.

Labour returns to power with a massive parliamentary majority of 174 seats, after a drop in support for the Conservatives.

Sir Keir will be formally appointed by the King later at Buckingham Palace and will then make his first speech in Downing Street.

He is then expected to begin naming his new cabinet on Friday afternoon, before it meets for the first time on Saturday.

Speaking in central London, Sir Keir told a crowd of Labour supporters that “change starts now” and added: “It feels good, I have to be honest.”

Labour’s victory came largely as a result of a dramatic 20-point drop in Conservative support, with the party losing 249 seats to 119, a record low.

This marks a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for Sir Keir’s party, which suffered its worst ever result in terms of seats (202) at the last election in 2019 under Sir Keir’s predecessor Jeremy Corbyn.

Despite increasing its share of the national vote by only around 2%, the party has won 411 seats with only a handful left to declare, just shy of Tony Blair’s historic majority of 179 in 1997.

Its rise in vote share was entirely due to a 17-point increase in support in Scotland, where it regained its status as the largest party while the SNP fell from 48 to just nine seats.

In a good night for smaller parties, the Liberal Democrats won 71 seats, the party’s best result in a century, while Nigel Farage is set to become one of four Reform UK MPs, after a groundbreaking night for the fledgling party.

Sir Keir fought a cautious campaign in which Labour made very few new policy promises but largely managed to retain the large poll lead over the Conservatives it started with when outgoing Tory Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called an election in May.

Despite its resounding overall victory, the Labour Party lost several of its former strongholds to independent candidates who campaigned on pro-Gaza platforms.

In one of the biggest surprises of the night, shadow minister Jonathan Ashworth lost his seat in Leicester South, which he held by a majority of more than 22,000 votes.

And shadow health secretary Wes Streeting – one of Labour’s most prominent figures during the campaign – saw his majority in Ilford North reduced from more than 9,000 to just 528.

Promises of the manifesto

The Labour Party based its campaign on a manifesto focused on boosting the UK’s slow rate of economic growth in recent years.

He pledged to achieve this largely through changes to the planning system and making the country more attractive to foreign investment.

But in a tough economic context, party leaders have admitted they face a challenge amid challenges to public finances.

The party has also promised to overhaul UK labour laws, renationalise almost all passenger railways and create a state-owned energy generation and investment company, as well as boost green investment.