Politics

Keir Starmer promises 'national reset' after landslide Labour general election win

The Labour leader – who will officially become prime minister later today – has pledged that 'change begins now' as Big Issue founder Lord Bird calls for an end to the 'moral stain' of poverty

New prime minister Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, delivers a victory speech during a Labour Party election night results watch event. Photographer: Betty Laura Zapata/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New prime minister Keir Starmer has promised to lead a “government of service” after Labour won a landslide victory at the general election, ending 14 years of Tory rule.

The Labour leader pledged to restore trust in politics after defending his seat in Holborn and St Pancras and seeing his party make huge gains across the country.

Labour is on track to win 412 seats in the House of Commons, with the obliterated Conservatives down to a paltry 121.

In his first speech as prime minister, Starmer acknowledged that “changing a country is not like flicking a switch” – but declared that work to do so would begin “immediately.”

“It is surely clear to everyone that our country needs a bigger reset. A rediscovery of who we are,” he said.

“One of the great strengths of this nation has always been our ability to navigate a way to calmer waters. And yet this depends upon politicians, particularly those who stand for stability and moderation as I do, recognising when we must change course… For too long now we turned a blind eye as millions slid into greater insecurity.”

He added that his government would “tread more lightly” on people’s lives.

“From now on you have a government unburdened by doctrine, guided only by the determination to serve your interest,” he said.

Big Issue founder Lord John Bird called on the new Labour government to prioritise tackling poverty.

“I’d like to welcome the many new MPs set to join us in Westminster in the coming weeks. I look forward to meeting and working with you to dismantle the poverty that traps so many of your constituents,” Lord Bird said.

“To Sir Keir and his new government, I say this – the people of the UK have put their trust in you. It’s now your responsibility to change things for the 14 million people in this country that live in poverty. For the 3.8 million people experiencing destitution, fighting every day to feed, clothe and keep themselves warm. The buck stops with you. There can be no greater priority for your administration than ending the moral stain on this nation that is poverty.”

The Tories are on track for their worst-ever election defeat, with big names like Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Grant Shapps losing their seats.

In remarks conceding Labour had won, Sunak admitted it was a “difficult night” for his party.

“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,” he said, speaking outside of Downing Street.

“To all the conservative candidates and campaigners who worked tirelessly, but without success, I am sorry that we could not deliver what your efforts deserved.”

The outgoing prime minister has tendered his resignation to the palace. He said he would step down as leader of the Conservative Party once it had selected a new leader, adding that he was “proud” of his achievements in office.

“I believe this country is safer, stronger, and more secure than it was 20 months ago,” he added. “And it is more prosperous, fairer and resilient than it was in 2010.”

We took a look at the Tory record here.

Labour secured a huge swing away from the Conservatives, an anti-incumbent vote that also benefitted the Liberal Democrats and smaller parties.

The Liberal Democrats clinched a “record-breaking” 71 seats, a result Ed Davy described as “exceptional.”  “This will not be a one off,” he vowed.

Reform UK and the Greens secured four seats apiece. Reform leader Nigel Farage – who was elected to parliament on his eighth attempt – will represent the constituency of Clacton. The far-right Reform party secured more than four million votes.

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? Get in touch and tell us more. Big Issue exists to give homeless and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy of the magazine or get the app from the App Store or Google Play.

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