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Monday, July 15, 2024

Starmer to be UK’s new prime minister as Labour win massive majority

Labour leader Keir Starmer officially becomes prime minister later Friday, leading his party back to government less than five years after it suffered its worst defeat in almost a century. 

Britain’s Labour Party swept to power Friday after more than a decade in opposition, as a jaded electorate handed the party a landslide victory — but also a mammoth task of reinvigorating a stagnant economy and dispirited nation. Labour leader Keir Starmer officially becomes prime minister later Friday, leading his party back to government less than five years after it suffered its worst defeat in almost a century.

In the merciless choreography of British politics, he will take charge in 10 Downing Street hours after Thursday’s votes are counted — as Conservative leader Rishi Sunak is hustled out.

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With almost all the results in, Labour had won 411 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons and the Conservatives 120.

“A mandate like this comes with a great responsibility,” Starmer acknowledged in a speech to supporters, saying that the fight to regain people’s trust after years of disillusionment “is the battle that defines our age.”

Speaking as dawn broke in London, he said Labour would offer “the sunlight of hope, pale at first but getting stronger through the day.”

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Sunak conceded defeat, saying the voters had delivered a “sobering verdict.”

With almost all the results in, Labour had won 410 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons and the Conservatives 118.

For Starmer, it’s a massive triumph that will bring huge challenges, as he faces a weary electorate impatient for change against a gloomy backdrop of economic malaise, mounting distrust in institutions and a fraying social fabric.

“Nothing has gone well in the last 14 years,” said London voter James Erskine, who was optimistic for change in the hours before polls closed. “I just see this as the potential for a seismic shift, and that’s what I’m hoping for.”