Rishi Sunak steps down, Keir Starmer takes over as British Prime Minister

Leaders across Europe commented on the dramatic election in the United Kingdom on Friday, welcoming Labor leader and future British Prime Minister Keir Starmer.

by Faruk Imamovic
Rishi Sunak steps down, Keir Starmer takes over as British Prime Minister
© Getty Images/Cristopher Furlong

Leaders across Europe commented on the dramatic election in the United Kingdom on Friday, welcoming Labor leader and future British Prime Minister Keir Starmer.

EU Officials Extend Congratulations

European Council President Charles Michel and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who has been nominated to be the next EU foreign policy chief, both called Starmer's election triumph "historic".

“I look forward to working with you and your government in this new cycle for the U.K.,” Michel, who is leaving his post in November, said on social media. “See you soon in the European Political Community meeting on July 18 in the U.K. where we will discuss common challenges, including stability, security, energy and migration.”

“The U.K.’s commitment to our common security is valued by every Estonian,” Kallas said. “I’m sure our excellent cooperation will only continue to thrive.”

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that she expects a constructive partnership to solve common challenges and strengthen European security.

European Leaders Emphasize Cooperation

French President Emmanuel Macron said that France will continue the work it started with the United Kingdom for our bilateral cooperation, for peace and security in Europe, for the climate and for AI.

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said Starmer had "delivered a comprehensive victory for the Labor Party" and added that he hoped to strengthen Anglo-Irish relations.

The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, congratulated Starmer and said that the United Kingdom and the EU are united by "common values ​​and long-standing friendship".

Rishi Sunak Steps Down After Conservative Party's Historic Defeat

Rishi Sunak announced his resignation from the position of Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party after his disastrous defeat in the elections. He said that he heard the "anger and disappointment" of the voters and the desire for change, and told the citizens of the country:

“To the country, I would like to say first and foremost, I am sorry,” said Mr. Sunak in a brief but dignified statement in Downing Street. “I have heard your anger, your disappointment. And I take responsibility for this loss.”

“I’m proud of those achievements,” he said. “I believe this country is safer and more secure than it was 20 months ago.”

He also praised his successor, Keir Starmer, whom he called a “decent, public-spirited man who I respect.”

“In this job, his successes will be all our successes, and I wish him and his family well,” Mr. Sunak said.

Rishi Sunak Steps Down After Conservative Partys Historic Defeat
Rishi Sunak Steps Down After Conservative Partys Historic Defeat© Getty Images/Dan Kitwood

Sunak said that he will step down from the position of leader of the Conservatives when the conditions are right to choose his successor. As the Guardian writes, it looks like the party will win a little more than 121 mandates, which is its worst result ever.

By 11am this morning, all but two constituencies had declared their results, and Labor won a huge result with more than 410 seats. Sunak said that his party now has to rebuild and assume its "key" role in the opposition.

He then traveled to Buckingham Palace for his final audience with the King before Starmer officially became Prime Minister.

Speaking about his tenure, Sunak said he had brought inflation down to the Bank of England's 2% target, put mortgage rates on a downward trajectory and improved the UK's international reputation. He cited support for Ukraine and negotiations on the Windsor Framework for post-Brexit trade arrangements in Northern Ireland.

Sunak became party leader in October 2022 without Liz Truss resigning after just 45 days.

Keir Starmer Addresses the Nation as New British Prime Minister

The leader of the Labor Party, Keir Starmer, officially took over as Prime Minister of Great Britain after being appointed by King Charles III, and in his first address to the nation from Downing Street, he emphasized his commitment to unity, public service and a new beginning.

Starmer paid tribute to outgoing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, praising him for his pioneering role as Britain's first Asian Prime Minister, as well as his dedication and hard work.

Starmer then addressed the erosion of trust in British politics, arguing that it can only be restored through actions, not words.

“It is surely clear to everyone that our country needs a bigger reset, a rediscovery of who we are, because no matter how fierce the storms of history, one of the greatest strengths of this nation has always been our ability to navigate a way to calmer waters,” he said.

“This depends upon politicians, particularly those who stand for stability and moderation, as I do.”

He added: “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 those quietly those who have written our country off.”

“You have given us a clear mandate, And we will use it to deliver change.”

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