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by Louise Wilson
05 July 2024
Prime Minister Keir Starmer pledges to ‘rebuild Britain’

Keir Starmer has become prime minister | Alamy

Prime Minister Keir Starmer pledges to ‘rebuild Britain’

Prime Minister Keir Starmer has pledged to “rebuild Britain” in his first speech outside Number 10 Downing Street.

Labour has re-entered government after 14 years with a massive majority of more than 200 seats.

He formally became prime minister after a meeting with King Charles on Friday and has now been invited to form a government.

He pledged a government of “service” to the people and to restore trust in politics.

His party has won the majority of seats in Scotland, England and Wales, and he said the nations of the UK were “standing together again, facing down as we have so often in our past the challenges of an insecure world, committed to a calm and patient rebuilding”.

Starmer acknowledged the UK needed a “reset” to deal with various problems relating to the economy, the NHS and world events.

But he added: “Changing a country in not like flicking a switch. The world is now a more volatile place. This will take a while.

“But have no doubt that the work of change begins immediately.

“Have no doubt that we will rebuild Britian, with wealth created in every community, our NHS back on its feet facing the future, secure borders, safer streets, everyone treated with dignity and respect at work, the opportunity of clean Britian power cutting your energy bills for good.

“And brick by brick, we will rebuild the infrastructure of opportunity: the world-class schools and colleges, the affordable homes that I know are the ingredients of hope for working people, the security that working class families like mine can build their lives around.

“Because if I asked you now whether you believe that Britain will be better for your children, I know too many of you would say ‘no’. And so my government will fight every day until you believe again.

“From now on you have a government unburdened by doctrine, guided only by the determination to serve your interest, to defy quietly those who have written our country off. You have given us a clear mandate and we will use it to deliver change.”

North of the border, Scottish Labour made a serious comeback. It secured 37 of Scotland’s 57 Westminster seats, defeating the SNP across the central belt.

The SNP has returned just nine MPs, the lowest number it has had for a decade.

Speaking in Edinburgh earlier, First Minister John Swinney said his party “needs to heal its relationship with the people of Scotland”.

But he also committed to working constructively with the new UK Government.

The Scottish Conservative retained five of its six seats, in what was otherwise a terrible night for the wider party.

The Lib Dems made gains to bring their total to five Scottish MPs.

One seat – Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire – is still to declare. That result is not expected until tomorrow.

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