UK election results: NATO summit and mending EU ties are Starmer’s first tasks

LONDON (AP) — New British Prime Minister Keir Starmer Can’t breathe. Six weeks later Election campaignThe centre-left politician must assemble his government, tackle a mountain of domestic problems and work straight to putting his stamp on the UK’s relations with the rest of the world.

It’s a tough list for a new leader who has never been in power, much less been in power. But Starmer insisted he must rise to the challenge of leading England in a world that is “a more turbulent place” than it has been for years.

Britain’s Labor Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria greet supporters as they arrive at Downing Street, Friday, July 5, 2024, in London. (AP Photo/Vadim Girida)

Appoint a government

Like someone moving into a new home with their IKEA furniture, Starmer’s first task is to assemble the cabinetry.

Starmer quickly set about putting his government together Walked through the door at 10 Downing St. Friday afternoon following his landslide election victory. He has plenty of lawmakers to choose from — his Labor won more than 400 seats in Thursday’s election, nearly two-thirds of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.

Key players in the new administration include Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves – a former Bank of England economist and the first woman to hold the job – who will liaise with international financial institutions.


Britain’s King Charles III shakes hands with Keir Starmer, where he invited the Labor leader to become prime minister and form a new government, following Labour’s landslide general election victory in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (Pool Photo via Yui Mok, AP)

The new foreign secretary is Britain’s top diplomat, David Lammy, a Harvard Law School graduate who has vowed to “reunite Britain for our security and prosperity at home”.

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Make friends on the global stage

Starmer delivered his message to the world from England: “We’re back.” He wants Britain to take a bigger role on the world stage after years of strained relations with Europe over Brexit and the inward-looking UK political soap opera that followed.

Within hours of taking office, the new prime minister held a series of calls with world leaders including US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, European Union President Ursula van der Leyen and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky. He sent Lammy on weekend trips to Germany, Poland and Sweden.

Starmer took office during a number of crises – including War in Ukraine and the Middle East, the far-right, and muscle-flexing China – which will test the head he honed in his former job as Britain’s chief solicitor.

Malcolm Chalmers, deputy director general of the Royal United Services Institute, a military think tank, said that while France faces a far-right surge in legislative elections and the US is mired in a polarizing, high-stakes presidential election, Britain has “the most stable government of all the major Western democracies.”


Britain’s Labor Prime Minister Keir Starmer speaks to the media and supporters in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Vadim Girda)

“It therefore has the opportunity and the responsibility to help steady the ship of Western unity at a time of exceptional political fluidity,” he said.

Starmer is set to make his high-profile international debut by flying to Washington on Tuesday of NATO 75th Anniversary Summit. The meeting has been overshadowed by questions about Biden’s fitness and the uncertain outcome of November’s US presidential election.

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Starmer said there would be no change in Britain’s steadfast support for Ukraine, and pledged to increase UK military spending to 2.5% of GDP – although he did not set a date for that.

“Starmer’s decision is how much he can force the US – as well as other members of NATO – to be Ukraine’s protector, not only on the basis of sovereignty but also of European security,” said Branwen Maddox. International affairs think-tank Chatham House.

Starmer faces divisions within his party Israel’s War Against Hamas. Many Labor lawmakers were defeated in the election, angered by challenges from pro-Palestinian independents and the party’s initial refusal to call unambiguously for a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict.


Britain’s Labor Party Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria at 10 Downing Street in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Match things up with neighbors

On July 18, Starmer will host leaders from across Europe at Blenheim Palace in England for a meeting of the 47-nation European political community. This is an opportunity to repair relations with the UK’s neighbors in Europe Left the EU In 2020.

Starmer says he wants to reduce some post-Brexit barriers to people and goods Crooked relationships Between Britain and the camp. He insists he will not reverse Brexit or rejoin the EU’s single market and customs union.

Critics say it shows a lack of principle, but supporters say it respects Britain’s desire not to reopen the Brexit debate.

Tackle a long to-do list

Starmer also faces serious domestic challenges, underpinned by a widespread feeling that many aspects of British public life have broken down during 14 years of Conservative rule.

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Stagnant growth and low productivity constrain the economy while millions of people struggle Cost of living. of the country Aging infrastructure Creeching and state funding National Health Service With long waiting lists for treatment, the situation has worsened in a long-term series. Doctors strike. Ending that dispute will be a priority, but Starmer has vowed to keep a tight lid on spending and is unwilling to agree to the big pay rises doctors are hoping for.


Britain’s Labor Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria greet supporters as they arrive at Downing Street, Friday, July 5, 2024, in London. (AP Photo/Vadim Girida)

Starmer promises to curb migration and end dangerous journeys across the English Channel in small boats, but he is scrapping a Conservative government. A controversial project Rwanda announced on Saturday that a deal to send asylum seekers to Rwanda on a one-way trip is “dead and buried”. The UK has given hundreds of millions of pounds (dollars) to Rwanda as part of the deal without a single plane taking off.

After a series of backward steps under the Conservatives, he is expected to stress Britain’s commitment to combating climate change.

The new government’s legislative plans for next year will be revealed in a speech on July 17. King Charles III At the ceremonial state opening of Parliament.

“A lot of people feel a sense of potential change,” said Liz Butler, a senior lecturer in modern history at London City University. “I think Starmer will have high expectations that will be difficult to meet.”


Associated Press video journalist Kwon Ha contributed to this story.

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