Keir Starmer Announces Cabinet, Hours After Becoming UK Prime Minister

Keir Starmer Announces Cabinet, Hours After Becoming UK Prime Minister

Hours after securing a resounding victory, Prime Minister of Britain, Keir Starmer, on Friday, announced his new cabinet.

King Charles III, officially appointed Labour leader, Starmer, prime minister at Buckingham Palace. His party achieved a landslide victory in the general election, bringing an end to 14 years of Conservative rule.

King Charles III formally asked Starmer to form a new government, with the politician promising the British public he would steer the country towards “calmer waters,” according to CNN.

Also on Friday, President Bola Tinubu, congratulated Starmer on the victory of his party during the recent general election.

This was as Nigeria’s Labour Party 2023 presidential candidate, Peter Obi, called on the new UK Prime Minister to help in deepening democracy in Nigeria.

Starmer, 61, begins his term with what is one of the biggest parliamentary majorities in British history and is expected to introduce a programme of far-reaching reforms.

Addressing the nation from outside 10 Downing Street for the first time as prime minister, Starmer had one overarching message: Change starts now.

In appointing his new cabinet, Starmer chose David Lammy for British Foreign Secretary. 

Lammy has been representing Tottenham, where he grew up, since 2000 when he won a by-election caused by the death of Labour’s Bernie Grant. Under New Labour, he was minister of higher education and culture. He was the first black Briton to attend Harvard Law School, where he met and befriended Barack Obama.

Also, Angela Rayner would serve as Deputy Prime Minister. She served as Sir Keir Starmer’s deputy since he was elected Labour leader in 2020 and will take on the role of leveling up secretary, which she previously held. Rachel Reeves would serve as Chancellor, and Yvette Cooper will serve as Home Secretary.

Pat Mcfadden was selected as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Shabana Mahmood was selected as Justice Secretary. In addition, Wes Streeting would serve as Health Secretary, and Bridget Phillipson is to serve as Education Secretary.

The Energy Secretary is Ed Miliband, who has had a central role in Labour politics, serving as MP for Doncaster North since 2005. In addition, Peter Kyle would serve as Science, Innovation, and Technology Secretary, while Louise Haig will serve as Transport Secretary.  Also, Liz Kendall is to become Work and Pensions Secretary, and Jonathan Reynolds to become Business Secretary. Also included in the cabinet is Darren Jones serving as Chief Secretary to the Treasury while John Healey is to become Defense Secretary.

However, Starmer pledged to “rebuild Britain” as he assumed office on Friday.

“Now, our country has voted decisively for change, for national renewal, and the return of politics to public service,” he stated in his inaugural speech.

Starmer detailed that “the work of change begins immediately, but have no doubt, we will rebuild Britain.

“It is surely clear to everyone that our country needs a bigger reset, a rediscovery of who we are,” he said, cautioning that the national renewal he was promising would take time.

“Changing a country is not like flipping a switch, the world is now a more volatile place,” he said.

The Conservative Party recorded the worst result in its history, prompting some commentators to observe that the overall election result was as much about British voters booting out the Conservatives as voting in Labour.

The party lost more than 250 of the seats it had held in the 650-seat Parliament since 2019.  There were high-profile casualties, with the short-lived former Prime Minister Liz Truss and several cabinet ministers being booted out by voters.

Conservative leader and, as of yesterday morning, former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took responsibility for the electoral wipeout, apologizing to voters in his farewell address.

“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 judgement that matters,” he said on the doorstep of the famous 10 Downing Street residence.

Sunak announced he would resign as the leader of the Conservative Party as soon as arrangements were made to find his successor.

“I have heard your anger, your disappointment. And I take responsibility for this loss,” he told voters as his wife Akshata Murty stood by.

The handover of power was a swift – and sometimes brutal – process in the UK, with the outgoing prime minister replaced within hours of losing the election.

In keeping with tradition, Sunak left Downing Street for the last time immediately after his speech and was driven the short distance to Buckingham Palace to meet the King and hand in his resignation.

Having conceded the election in the early hours of Friday, Sunak was out of the job by midday.

An hour or so later, Starmer arrived for a brief audience with the King. Leaving the palace as the newly minted prime minister, he then headed straight to Downing Street.

The two politicians paid respectful tribute to each other, even though they did not meet in person

Sunak called his successor “a decent, public-spirited man who I respect,” on his way out, while Starmer praised his predecessor’s “dedication and hard work” and highlighted the significance of him being the first British Asian prime minister.

While the night was marked by a seismic shift in power from the Conservatives to Labour, other parties scored big wins.

The Liberal Democrats went from winning just 11 seats at the 2019 general election to securing more than 70. Traditionally the third-biggest party across the UK, the Lib Dems have in the past struggled to break through and convert their relatively high vote share into parliamentary seats because of the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system, which favours the biggest parties.

And although Labour won by a landslide in terms of seats in parliament, the popular vote showed the party’s win was not a resounding victory. Labour only increased its vote share by a few percentage points from its dismal 2019 showing.

Meanwhile, Tinubu has congratulated Starmer on his victory. As a former leader of the opposition in Nigeria, the President, in a statement issued yesterday by his Media Adviser, Ajuri Ngelale, specially noted the determination and courage the incoming Prime Minister of the United Kingdom demonstrated throughout his years in the opposition and as the leader of the Labour Party.

Tinubu stated that the party’s ability to reform, mobilise, and position itself for victory after 14 years clearly affirmed Starmer’s leadership qualities.

The President also congratulated the citizens and the government of the UK, describing the Kingdom as an abiding model of democracy and Nigeria’s long-standing partner.

Tinubu said he looked forward to deepening relations between Nigeria and the United Kingdom in mutual areas of interest and in strengthening democratic institutions, as well as in building a safer and more prosperous future for the people of both countries.

For his part, Peter Obi called on Kier Starmer, to help in deepening Nigeria’s democracy. Obi also hoped Starmer’s win would better the lot of UK’s residents.

Obi wrote on his X handle on Friday, stating: “I sincerely congratulate @Keir_Starmer, and the Labour Party UK on the landslide victory they recorded in Thursday’s election. May the victory translate to a better and new chapter for all the UK residents as you remain committed to your electoral promises.

“I also hope that your government will promote stronger ties between the UK and Nigeria, and help in deepening our own democracy, especially during the challenging times that our nation is going through.

“Nigeria is grappling with issues such as insecurity, education, healthcare, and poverty, and could greatly benefit from the support of the UK. Let us work together to build a brighter future commonwealth for all. I wish you a successful tenure.”

The Leader of the Labour Party Caucus of the House of Representatives, Hon. Afam Victor Ogene, said the victory of the opposition Labour Party in the United Kingdom was a sign that its Nigerian version would triumph in the 2027 general elections.

In a statement signed by the lawmaker and made available to journalists in Awka, yesterday, the lawmaker, said the election tells vivid tales of hope for the opposition, competence and integrity of the electoral umpires in the UK, in a manner that elicits public confidence and trust in the electoral process.

“Unlike what was witnessed in Nigeria in the last general elections, the process in the UK was free of glitches, as about 40 million voters took part. Polls closed around 10 pm Thursday and by daybreak, the results were out.

“There was no judicial ambush, as immediate transition took place to the admiration of all lovers of democracy and free and fair elections,” he said.

“If we must practice democracy, we must also love, copy and abide by the transparency and accountability of democratic institutions in nations of the world that allow the rule of law and democratic principles to thrive.

“Indeed, one of the potent lessons of the British elections is the fact that, the concept of ‘snatch it, grab it, and run away with it,’ has no place in modern democratic practice.”

Also, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) called on the Nigerian government and electoral bodies to draw lessons from the UK general election, where Starmer secured a landslide victory over the incumbent Conservative Party.

The association observed that the UK election was marked by a seamless, transparent, and peaceful process, starkly contrasting the chaotic and often violent elections witnessed in Nigeria.

In a statement, HURIWA stated: “The UK election was distinguished by its transparency and simplicity. Voters were required only to present a national identity card or driver’s license to vote; there was no need for a separate voter registration exercise or voter card. This approach made the electoral process highly accessible and reduced the potential for fraud.”

HURIWA noted that the absence of vote-buying, voter inducement, and the seamless transition of power were significant markers of the UK’s robust democratic system. While frowning that in contrast, Nigeria’s elections was often marred by allegations of vote-buying, voter suppression, and violence, HURIWA expressed concern that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria has often been criticised for its inefficiency and susceptibility to corruption.

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