Starmer Convenes First Cabinet Meeting with New Ministers

Sir Keir Starmer convened his cabinet for the first time on Saturday morning, following his decisive electoral victory centered on rebuilding public trust in politics and leading a service-oriented government.

The new Prime Minister has appointed several prominent experts to key ministerial positions, demonstrating his commitment to embedding deep policy expertise at the core of his administration. Among these appointments are James Timpson, a respected businessman known for his work in prisoner rehabilitation, who now serves as prisons minister. Sir Patrick Vallance, formerly the government’s chief scientific adviser during the Covid-19 pandemic, has been appointed as the science minister.

In a notable decision, Starmer chose not to appoint Emily Thornberry, his former shadow attorney-general, to the equivalent role in his government. Instead, he named Richard Harmer KC, a distinguished human rights lawyer, to the position. Timpson, Vallance, and Harmer are set to be elevated to the peerage.

Starmer’s Labour government, the first in 14 years, faces immediate challenges such as resolving doctors’ pay negotiations. Additionally, plans are underway for a significant overhaul of the planning system, aimed at catalyzing a much-needed housebuilding surge.

Upon entering Downing Street on Friday, Sir Keir Starmer delivered his inaugural speech as Prime Minister, vowing to mend the fractured trust between the public and politicians through concrete actions rather than mere words. He emphasized prioritizing economic growth as a key agenda.

Starmer is also preparing for next week’s Nato summit, where he will engage with global leaders including US President Joe Biden. President Biden congratulated Starmer on his election victory during a phone call, reaffirming the special relationship between the US and the UK in support of freedom and democracy worldwide, according to the White House.

Additionally, Starmer spoke with Irish Taoiseach Simon Harris on Friday, reaffirming his commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.

In his initial appointments, Starmer named Rachel Reeves as Chancellor, David Lammy as Foreign Secretary, and Yvette Cooper as Home Secretary—roles they previously held in opposition.

Rachel Reeves assumes her role amidst challenges of stagnant economic growth, mounting public debt, and the highest peacetime tax burden. She addressed Treasury staff on Friday, outlining her vision for leading the most pro-growth finance department and supporting Labour’s industrial strategy aimed at revitalizing investment. “This Treasury will fully participate in a new era of industrial strategy,” Reeves affirmed.

Labour maintained a campaign pledge this year not to increase income tax, national insurance, or VAT in government, adhering to stringent fiscal rules. However, the party may need to consider raising other taxes, borrowing, or reducing public services if economic growth cannot be stimulated.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Housing Secretary, as the new government prepares to unveil reforms aimed at promoting development in the coming days, part of their commitment to revitalize the construction sector.

Wes Streeting, newly appointed Health Secretary, is scheduled to meet with representatives from the British Medical Association (BMA) next week in efforts to resolve a deadlock that has led to 11 strikes by junior doctors in England over the past two years. Streeting engaged with the BMA during the election campaign earlier this year.

Officials express growing confidence in the government’s ability to negotiate a deal that falls short of the BMA’s demand for a 35% pay increase, possibly agreeing to phased salary raises over several years.

Addressing the situation on Friday, Streeting affirmed, “We pledged during the campaign to initiate negotiations urgently, and that is precisely what we are doing.”


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