World leaders congratulate the UK’s new PM Keir Starmer

Helen Corbett |

Prime Minister Keir Starmer took calls and appointed cabinet members on his first day in office.
Prime Minister Keir Starmer took calls and appointed cabinet members on his first day in office.

Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelenskiy are among the international leaders who have picked up the phone to congratulate Britain’s new prime minister Keir Starmer.

Starmer’s Labour won a massive majority in the UK’s 650-seat parliament, prompting Conservative leader Rishi Sunak’s resignation before Starmer went to meet King Charles and be formally named prime minister.

The new leader has already spoken to US President Biden and discussed their commitment to the special relationship between the UK and US, protecting the gains of the Good Friday Agreement on Northern Ireland and support for Ukraine.

Keir Starmer and wife Victoria
Starmer entered 10 Downing Street with wife Victoria in front of a cheering crowd of supporters. (AP PHOTO)

Starmer also spoke to Ukrainian President Zelenskiy and reassured him of Britain’s “unwavering commitment”, saying the UK would continue supplying defensive support.

“I am grateful to Keir Starmer for his assurances that Britain’s support for Ukraine will remain unchanged in principle,” Zelenskiy wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Starmer had calls with the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

And he talked to Irish premier Simon Harris, who accepted an invitation to visit Downing Street on July 17, and Scottish First Minister John Swinney.

The new prime minister is expected to hold the first meeting of his new cabinet as he looks to start working on Labour’s pledges and preparing for a NATO summit.

He made a raft of appointments on his first day at Number 10, confirming Rachel Reeves as Britain’s first woman chancellor, Yvette Cooper as home secretary and David Lammy as foreign secretary.

Angela Rayner officially became deputy prime minister and retained the levelling up, housing and communities brief.

John Healey was named defence secretary; Shabana Mahmood justice secretary; Wes Streeting health secretary; Bridget Phillipson education secretary; and Ed Miliband energy secretary.

Yvette Cooper
Cabinet members in the new government were appointed including Yvette Cooper as home secretary. (AP PHOTO)

In his first speech on Downing Street, Starmer said the British people had voted “decisively for change”.

He said the country could “move forward together” as Labour took office following 14 years of Conservative rule.

Pat McFadden, who played a central role in shaping Labour’s election campaign and was named chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said the new cabinet would meet on Saturday.

“We have a NATO summit next week. That will be (Starmer’s) first moment on the international stage. And while he’s doing that, he will want his new cabinet to get on with it pretty quickly,” he told BBC Radio.

He said high on Starmer’s agenda will be the six first steps Labour has set out: delivering economic stability, cutting National Health Service waiting times, launching a new border security command, setting up energy body Great British Energy, cracking down on anti-social behaviour, and recruiting 6500 new teachers.

Just days after his appointment, Starmer will be propelled onto the international stage, jetting to Washington DC for the NATO leaders’ summit, where discussions will include support for Ukraine.

He is also due to host the European Political Community summit in the UK on July 18.

with Reuters