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Starmer begins forming his cabinet and appoints Reeves to the Treasury

Starmer begins forming his cabinet and appoints Reeves to the Treasury

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s new prime minister, Keir Starmer, He vowed on Friday to reverse the despair that grew during 14 years of Conservative rule and said he would lead an urgent mission of national renewal after his Labour Party’s landslide victory.

It will be a difficult task.

Increase in poverty, infrastructure in ruins, A lagging and overburdened economy National Health Service It contributed to widespread discontent and complaints about a “broken Britain.” The resulting defeat was the worst in history for the Conservatives.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the opposition Labour Party has won the UK election while his Conservatives face defeat.

“Be in no doubt that we will rebuild Britain,” Starmer said in his first official remarks as supporters cheered and waved Union Jack flags outside 10 Downing St. “Brick by brick we will rebuild the infrastructure of opportunity.”

Starmer said it would take time but his government would get the NHS “back on its feet”, secure borders, improve public safety and cut electricity bills, while relying on locally produced clean energy.

Among the crowd of people who gathered to watch the change of government was David McKeever, who said Starmer needed to quickly provide details of his plans that were often missing during the campaign.

“From today, Keir Starmer will have to come up with some concrete policies and implement them,” McKeever said. “We will know in time what we are up against. But yes, it is clear that the Conservatives had set the bar so low that we could have surpassed it.”

Before Starmer came to Number 10, his predecessor, Mr Sunak, He said goodbye with a thoughtful speech from the same place where he called for early elections that led to his dismissal.

“I have heard your anger, your disappointment and I take responsibility for this loss,” Sunak said. “To all the Conservative candidates and campaigners who worked tirelessly but without success, I am sorry that we have not been able to deliver what your efforts deserved.”

Sunak’s party, which has been plagued by scandals, turbulent leadership changes and global problems beyond its control, suffered its biggest defeat in its two-century history.

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Labour Party leader Keir Starmer kisses his wife Victoria after speaking to supporters at the Tate Modern in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

With the results counted in all but one constituency, Labour had won 412 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons. The Conservatives had just 121, down from 365 seats in 2019. The drubbing exceeded even that of the 1906 election, when they won just 156 seats.

The Conservative reign was marked by Britain’s messy divorce from the European Union, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, all of which hammered the economy.

When Sunak took power in October 2022, he was the third prime minister in less than two months and set out to bring stability to a party in crisis.

Widespread anger over parties held by then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s staff in breach of his own lockdown rules led to his resignation. His successor, Liz Truss, was out of office in a record 49 days after shaking up the economy with a package of drastic tax cuts.

Truss, who lost her seat to Labour, was one of several senior Conservatives ousted in a bitter electoral stalemate.

Starmer has begun naming government ministers who will be responsible for helping to address those issues. He announced that Rachel Reeves, a former economist at the Bank of England, will be the first woman to hold the role.

The massive victory will bring huge challenges for Starmer. He acknowledged this, referring to the “gap between the sacrifices made by people and the service they receive from politicians”, which he said had led to “a weariness in the heart of a nation, a weakening of hope, of spirit, of belief in a better future”.

Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said the question was whether Starmer could fix public services quickly enough to meet expectations.

“The NHS is in crisis,” Bale said. “It’s going to take a lot of money to get it back on track. The question is where Labour is going to get that money from and how quickly they can get it.”

In a sign of the volatile public mood and anger at the establishment, the incoming parliament will be more fractured and ideologically diverse than any in years.

Smaller parties won millions of votes, including the centrist one. Liberal Democrats, which won 71 seats, 60 more than in the last elections. Green Party The Scottish National Party (SNP) gained four seats, up from just one before the election. One of the biggest losers was the Scottish National Party, which held a majority of Scotland’s 57 seats before the election but looked set to lose all but a handful, mostly to Labour.

While the overall result appeared to counter recent electoral shifts to the right across Europe, including in France and Italy, many of the same populist undercurrents are also flowing in Britain.

Reform UK, the party of Nigel Faragewho stirred up the race with his party’s anti-immigrant sentiment calling for “let’s give back our country”, won five seats, including one for Farage in the seaside town of Clacton-on-Sea, securing a place in Parliament on his eighth attempt.

However, reform actually won a larger share of the vote than the Liberal Democrats and undermined support for the Conservatives and even took some votes away from Labour.

However, it failed to win as many seats because its votes were not distributed as efficiently as those of the centrist Liberal Democrats. In the British electoral system, the candidate with the most votes in each constituency wins.

Labour’s path to victory was largely the result of a cautious campaign, which put safety first and made no mistakes.

Starmer may have lacked charisma, but his promises to improve the economy, invest in infrastructure and fix failing social services resonated. The party also won backing from businesses, including traditionally conservative newspapers such as Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun tabloid, which praised Starmer for “dragging his party back into the centre of British politics”.

By comparison, the Conservatives were plagued by mistakes, including Sunak’s decision to Early rescue in commemorations commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of France.

The campaign got off to an inauspicious start when Sunak stood in a downpour outside 10 Downing St in May to set out The date of the elections.

Six weeks later, on a day marked by occasional rain reminiscent of the day he announced his election, Sunak said goodbye and offered his best wishes to his “decent and public-spirited” successor despite their disagreements on the campaign trail. He said he would step down from his role as leader.

More than 50 countries will vote in 2024

Two hours later, Starmer was back in the same spot, thanking Sunak for his dedication and pointing out that he was the first British prime minister of Asian descent.

He then called on those who supported him and those who did not to join him in the mission of national renewal.

“Our work is urgent,” he said. “And we start it today.”

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Associated Press writers Kwiyeon Ha, Danica Kirka and Pan Pylas contributed to this report.

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