The 61-year-old leader of the Labour Party is set to become the country’s first left-wing prime minister since 2010.

The Labour Party, which won the UK elections this Friday (4 July 2024) with 33.9% of the votes, appointed Keir Starmer as the country’s new Prime Minister. He will replace the Conservative Rishi Sunak, who had been in office since 2022.

Starmer, 61, will be the first Labour leader to hold the post in 14 years. The party’s last leader was Gordon Brown from 2007 to 2010.

The new Prime Minister has represented the London boroughs of Holborn and Saint Pancras in the House of Commons since 2015. He is also a lawyer and was Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales, earning the title of Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 2014.

After Labour’s defeat in the 2019 election, Starmer assumed leadership of his party and the opposition to the Conservative government.

There are two conservatives left

For social scientist Bárbara Cordeiro, the main strategy used by the Labour Party to win the elections was to use a discourse of unity and trust in the party, which contrasts with the internal crises experienced by the Conservatives.

“Starmer is seeking to rebuild the Labour Party by promoting a more centrist and moderate image, trying to win back undecided voters and unify different factions of the party”he said in an interview with Poder360.

The Labor leader advocates policies such as increased investment in public services, the abolition of university tuition fees and the implementation of stricter measures against tax evasion by large corporations. The proposals reinforce the party’s social welfare rhetoric.

Cordeiro explains that the biggest difficulty for Sunak and the Conservatives was overcoming economic challenges, such as the slow post-pandemic recovery and high inflation. In addition, the constant change of prime ministers during the term was a factor that weakened the confidence of the British people.

Government on the left

To the Poder360Dr. Pedro Feliú, professor of international relations at USP, states that Keir Starmer’s figure is conciliatory and centrist within the party itself.

The new UK government promises to be less drastic than the Conservatives’ previous term. The biggest example is the issue of illegal immigration, which is a source of concern for many Britons. Starmer will not ignore the issue, but will approach it in a more subtle way.

While Sunak wanted to deport all irregular immigrants to Rwanda, Starmer wants to increase police forces and invest in border surveillance. By proposing these measures, Labor is engaging with undecided voters.”says Feliu.

Brexit, EU & NATO

Although the Labour Party has positioned itself against the UK leaving the European Union, Starmer recently positioned itself against the country’s return to the bloc. Last Wednesday (3 July), the day before the election, he assured that, under his leadership, the country will not seek to rejoin the group.

Even with the strained relations with the European Union, the British countries remain firm in their commitment to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The Labour Party has pledged to support Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, proposing measures such as the creation of a Special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression and Ukraine’s integration into the alliance.

Cordeiro understands that the Labour government will try to align itself with nations with similar governments.The UK can strengthen alliances with countries that share progressive views, such as Germany and the Nordic countries, promoting a coalition of nations with common interests”he says.

The center-left victory in the United Kingdom goes against the grain in Europe, which has recently expanded the power of the right in the European Parliament and in some countries, such as France.

This report was produced by journalism intern Ana Sanches Mião under the supervision of assistant editor Ighor Nóbrega.


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