1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

UK election: Keir Starmer becomes Britain's new PM

Published July 5, 2024last updated July 5, 2024

UK Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has become Britain's new prime minister after meeting King Charles at Buckingham Palace. The process of forming a Cabinet is already underway. DW has the latest.

Prime Minister Keir Starmer delivers his first speech outside 10 Downing Street
Starmer led Britain's Labour Party to a landslide election victoryImage: Phil Noble/REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • Sir Keir Starmer is the UK's seventh Labour prime minister
  • Rishi Sunak resigns, tells nation 'I am sorry'
  • Starmer begins making ministerial appointments
  • Labour has won 412 seats compared with the Conservatives' 120
  • Anti-immigration Reform UK party wins four seats
Skip next section US President Biden congratulates Starmer on election victory
July 5, 2024

US President Biden congratulates Starmer on election victory

US President Joe Biden called the new British prime minister, Keir Starmer, to congratulate him after the Labour Party's landslide victory in the general election.

"Congratulations to Prime Minister Keir Starmer on becoming Prime Minister of the United Kingdom," Biden wrote on X.

"I look forward to our shared work in support of freedom and democracy around the world, and to further strengthening the special relationship between our two countries," he added.

The White House readout of the call said the pair reiterated their continued support for Ukraine as it fights Russian aggression.

The readout said the two "reaffirmed the special relationship" between the two countries.

It also emphasized the "shared commitment to protecting the gains of the Good Friday Agreement and working with the leaders of Northern Ireland to create and sustain economic growth and opportunities."

Biden, who is dealing with turmoil within his Democratic party after a poor performance in a presidential debate last week, is set to meet Kier Starmer in Washington DC for the annual NATO summit next week.

Skip next section EU 'ready to engage' with Starmer's UK, German CDU lawmaker David McAllister tells DW
July 5, 2024

EU 'ready to engage' with Starmer's UK, German CDU lawmaker David McAllister tells DW

David McAllister, a member of Germany's conservative opposition CDU party, told DW that the European Union is "ready to engage" with the UK after Labour leader Keir Starmer's general election win, which he characterized as an "important partner" of the bloc.

Asked whether Starmer's win could help improve relations between London and Brussels, McAllister said: "We have to be realistic, Labour has not promised to join the European Union … the single market or the customs union."

He said that the European Union would be open to a UK return to the Erasmus+ student exchange program, participation which does not require EU membership.

He pointed to the fact that the UK under outgoing Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak rejoined the Horizon research funding program.

McAllister said that Labour's electoral campaign was "outspoken" about its intention to improve coordination with the EU on defense and security.

He said the "British engagement for Ukraine has been very impressive" and hailed "close cooperation" between London and EU member states on supporting Kyiv amid Russia's invasion.  

German lawmaker McAllister: EU 'ready to engage' with Starmer

Skip next section Nigerian President Tinubu congratulates Starmer
July 5, 2024

Nigerian President Tinubu congratulates Starmer

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu congratulated Keir Starmer and his Labour Party for winning the UK election.

In a statement, Tinubu described the UK as a "model of democracy."

"As a former leader of the opposition in Nigeria, President Tinubu specially notes 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," the statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, read.

"The President looks forward to deepening relations between Nigeria and the United Kingdom in mutual areas of interest and in strengthening democratic institutions," he added.

Skip next section VIDEO: 'Our country has voted for change' — Starmer
July 5, 2024

VIDEO: 'Our country has voted for change' — Starmer

Kier Starmer spoke outside of Number 10 Downing Street after meeting with King Charles to get the traditional approval to form a government as the new prime minister.

Starmer: 'Our country has voted for change'

Skip next section Modi congratulates Starmer, thanks Sunak
July 5, 2024

Modi congratulates Starmer, thanks Sunak

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated Keir Starmer for his "remarkable victory" in Britain's general election.

Modi also praised his outgoing counterpart Rishi Sunak for deepening bilateral ties.

"Heartiest congratulations and best wishes to Keir Starmer on the remarkable victory," Modi wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Modi said he looked forward to "positive and constructive collaboration" with the new British leader to foster "mutual growth and prosperity".

"Thank you Rishi Sunak for your admirable leadership of the UK, and your active contribution to deepen the ties between India and the UK during your term in office," he added. "Best wishes to you and your family for the future."

Sunak became the first British prime minister of South Asian descent in 2022.

Modi recently won a third term as prime minister in the world's largest democracy, albeit with a reduced number of seats compared to his previous terms.

Skip next section European lawmaker Barley expects better relations with UK
July 5, 2024

European lawmaker Barley expects better relations with UK

Katarina Barley, a politician from Germany's Social Democrats says the change in London could mean a lot for Britain's future relations with Germany and Europe.

"We are really looking forward very much to working closely together," Barley told DW.

She said that, although the relationship with outgoing British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had been better than with his predecessors such as Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, he had been "very much in the hands of the populist members" of the Conservative Party.

"I hope with a pronounced European now it will become a lot easier," she said. 

"I hope that Kier Starmer will look at the relation between the EU and the United Kingdom in a more pragmatic way, with less ideology behind it," she said, adding: "It's very obvious that a better cooperation is for the better of both sides."

Labour landslide in the UK, excitement in Brussels

Skip next section Rachel Reeves becomes UK's first finance minister
July 5, 2024

Rachel Reeves becomes UK's first finance minister

UK Finance Minister Rachel Reeves
Rachel Reeves has become the first ever female Chancellor of the ExchequerImage: Jack Hill/The Times Ceo Summit/PA Media/dpa/picture alliance

Labour leader Keir Starmer has appointed Rachel Reeves as finance minister, known as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK, for his new Labour government.

The appointment makes Reeves the first woman to hold the role. It is considered one of the most important ministerial positions and was the job that shot Rishi Sunak to the top of the party and made it possible for him to later become prime minister.

Skip next section David Lammy is new UK foreign secretary
July 5, 2024

David Lammy is new UK foreign secretary

UK Foreign Secretary David Lammy
David Lammy served as the shadow foreign secretary while Labour were in oppositionImage: Maja Smiejkowska/REUTERS

Labour lawmaker David Lammy has been appointed Britain's next foreign secretary, promising to reset relations with the European Union and push for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Labour has said lasting peace and security in the Middle East are to be an immediate focus.

Previously shadow foreign affairs minister, Lammy travelled widely before the election, particularly to the United States.

He has been working to build ties with Republicans after once writing that former US President Donald Trump was a "woman-hating, neo-Nazi sociopath."

Lammy has strong links with top Democrats and is a close friend of fellow Harvard Law School alumni and former President Barack Obama.

Skip next section Starmer appoints Yvette Cooper as Home Secretary
July 5, 2024

Starmer appoints Yvette Cooper as Home Secretary

UK Home secretary Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper has several years experience working as a minister in previous Labour governmentsImage: Lucy North/PA Wire/dpa/picture alliance

Keir Starmer has appointed Yvette Cooper to the post of Home Secretary, Britain's equivalent of an interior minister.

Cooper previously served in Gordon Brown's Labour Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2008 to 2009 and as Work and Pensions Secretary from 2009 to 2010.

Her first ministerial role came under Tony Blair when she was responsible for housing and planning.

Skip next section Starmer appoints Angela Rayner as deputy
July 5, 2024

Starmer appoints Angela Rayner as deputy

Angela Raynor, deputy leader of the Labour Party speaks at a campaign event by British opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer at The Royal Horticultural Halls in London, Britain, June 29, 2024
Angela Raynor is the deputy leader of the Labour PartyImage: Suzanne Plunkett/REUTERS

Britain's new Prime Minister Keir Starmer has appointed Angela Rayner as his deputy in government.

Rayner is Starmer's first confirmed appointment to his cabinet and will also hold the brief of minister for "leveling up" (of regional infrastructure) housing and communities, Downing Street said in a statement.

In opposition, Labour members elected Rayner as deputy leader at the same time they voted for Starmer to be leader in 2020.


Skip next section Macron offers warm words to Starmer
July 5, 2024

Macron offers warm words to Starmer

French President Emmanuel Macron is among those to have congratulated Keir Starmer on becoming prime minister.

"Congratulations Sir Keir Starmer on your victory. Pleased with our first discussion," Macron posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

"We will continue the work begun with the UK for our bilateral cooperation, for peace and security in Europe, for the climate, and for AI [artificial intelligence]."

The French leader hosted Starmer in Elysee Palace back in October when he was still leader of the opposition. France is one of the UK's closest neighbors and a member of the EU.

Skip next section Labour's landslide on just over a third of vote
July 5, 2024

Labour's landslide on just over a third of vote

The Labour Party won the 2024 UK general election by a huge margin in terms of seats — 412 seats out of the total 650 in the UK parliament — but with only about a third of the popular vote.

While Labour only won 33.7% of all votes cast, it picked up 412 seats — almost two-thirds of the total — and a bumper majority of 176 seats in the House of Commons. The Conservatives won 23.7% and picked up only 120 seats.

Effectively, Thursday's election was 650 separate and unconnected mini-votes. In every constituency, the candidate with the most votes, and not necessarily more than 50%, wins. A party has the numbers to govern if it wins 326 of these races.

Britain's first-past-the-post voting system for each constituency means that the number of seats a party wins depends largely on how well their votes are spread.

This time, the Conservatives appeared to lose votes to the anti-immigration Reform UK party, thereby splitting their vote in many constituencies, while Labour and centrist Liberal Democrat supporters were encouraged to adopt tactical voting.

Labour's vote share this time around is far lower than in the Brexit-dominated 2017 general election — when the party lost with just 262  seats, despite securing 40% of votes. The anti-Brexit vote was split between Labour and Liberal Democrats, while the Conservatives faced little competition in garnering the pro-Brexit vote.

In 2019, Brexit also proved particularly divisive in many traditional Labour areas. The party secured only 202 seats with 32.1% of the vote. While the Brexit Party — a predecessor to Reform — withdrew candidates in normally Conservative seats to avoid splitting the right-wing vote, it did not do so in Labour ones.

Labour Party wins by a landslide in British elections

Skip next section Scholz welcomes 'sister party' win
July 5, 2024

Scholz welcomes 'sister party' win

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has welcomed Labour's win, saying it bodes well for future relations between the UK and Germany, as well as the wider European Union.

"I am delighted about the election victory of the leader of our sister party in the UK," said Scholz, of the center-left Social Democrats.

"I know Keir Starmer personally, we have often met and talked. He will be a very good, very successful prime minister... I also have the impression that we won't have much trouble developing relations between Europe and the UK and between Germany and the UK."

Skip next section How the voting breaks down
July 5, 2024

How the voting breaks down


Skip next section Starmer says aims to heal 'wound' of mistrust
July 5, 2024

Starmer says aims to heal 'wound' of mistrust

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria wave to supporters in fron of 10 Downing Street
Stammer's Labour partz won the general election on July 4Image: Phil Noble/REUTERS

Labour leader Keir Starmer has addressed the nation from 10 Downing Street, saying the politics can be "a force for good."

"Now our country has voted decisively for change, for national renewal and a return of politics to public service."

"When the gap between the sacrifices made by people and the service they receive from politicians grows this big it leads to a weariness in the heart of a nation. A draining away of the hope, the spirit, the belief, in a better future," adding: "We need to move forward together."

"This wound, this lack of trust, can only be healed by actions, not words. I know that. But we can make a start today with the simple acknowledgment that public service is a privilege and that your government should treat every single person in this country with respect."

"If you voted Labour yesterday, we will carry the responsibility of your trust as we rebuild our country. But whether you voted Labour or not, especially if you did not, I say to you directly — my government will serve you. Politics can be a force for good."

Starmer opened his speech by paying tribute to his predecessor, Rishi Sunak, as the UK's first British Asian Prime Minister.
"The extra effort that that would have required should not be underestimated by anyone."

Starmer was speaking after arriving in Downing Street from a meeting with King Charles at Buckingham Palace where he was invited to form a government.

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria Starmer greet supporters as they arrive at Number 10 Downing Street
Upon his arrival, the 61-year-old Starmer shook hands with supporters on the way to his new official residence.Image: Kevin Coombs/REUTERS

After the speech, Starmer and wife Victoria posed before the famous front door of Number 10 Downing Street before being clapped into the hallway of the building by staff.

Show more posts