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New Labour cabinet holds first meeting in No 10; Hunt rules himself out of Tory leadership race – UK politics live


Starmer and Labour’s new ministers pictured around cabinet table for first time

The first images of Keir Starmer’s new cabinet meeting at No 10 Downing Street have been released:

Prime minister, Keir Starmer, chairs his first meeting of the cabinet in Downing Street on Saturday.
Prime minister, Keir Starmer, chairs his first meeting of the cabinet in Downing Street on Saturday. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
Starmer, with deputy prime minister, Angela Rayner, sat beside him conducts his first cabinet meeting as UK prime minister.
Starmer, with deputy prime minister, Angela Rayner, sat beside him conducts his first cabinet meeting as UK prime minister. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
Starmer and Labour’s new ministers have been pictured around cabinet table for first time today.
Starmer and Labour’s new ministers have been pictured around cabinet table for first time today. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
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Key events

Keir Starmer told the first gathering of his new cabinet in Downing Street:

Look colleagues, it is absolutely fantastic to welcome you to the Cabinet, our first meeting.

And it was the honour and privilege of my life to be invited by the King, His Majesty the King yesterday to form a government and to form the Labour Government of 2024. And now we hold our first Cabinet meeting. So I welcome you to it.

We have a huge amount of work to do, so now we get on with our work.”

His words were met with loud applause. Starmer was flanked at the cabinet table by his deputy and housing secretary Angela Rayner and cabinet secretary Simon Case.

Starmer and Labour’s new ministers pictured around cabinet table for first time

The first images of Keir Starmer’s new cabinet meeting at No 10 Downing Street have been released:

Prime minister, Keir Starmer, chairs his first meeting of the cabinet in Downing Street on Saturday. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
Starmer, with deputy prime minister, Angela Rayner, sat beside him conducts his first cabinet meeting as UK prime minister. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
Starmer and Labour’s new ministers have been pictured around cabinet table for first time today. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
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Liberal Democrats win in Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire

The Liberal Democrats have won in Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire.

The party has posted on X, after this morning’s recount: “Liberal Democrats GAIN Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire. Congratulations Angus MacDonald MP.”

This means that all the seats in the general election have now formally declared and that the Lib Dems’ total number of MPs now sits at 72.

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After the cabinet meeting, Keir Starmer will face questions from journalists in his first press conference as prime minister. That’s scheduled for 1pm.

Other ministerial appointments are expected be announced over the weekend. The PA news agency reports that Pat McFadden, the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, said Starmer will move to quickly allocate responsibilities ahead of the Nato summit.

Starmer will make his debut on the international stage as Britain’s premier when he flies to Washington DC for the gathering next week, which is expected to include discussions on support for Ukraine. He is also due to host the European Political Community summit in the UK on 18 July.

Jeremy Hunt rules himself out of Tory leadership race

Jeremy Hunt, the former chancellor who previously ran as a Tory leadership hopeful, has ruled himself out of the race, telling GB News that the “time has passed”.

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A flurry of cabinet ministers have been arriving at Downing Street for their first meeting.

Health secretary Wes Streeting told reporters “We’re getting straight to work” as he walked in, closely followed by transport secretary Louise Haigh.

The PA news agency reports that when asked by journalists when railways would be nationalised, Haigh said: “As soon as possible.”

Next to appear was science secretary Peter Kyle and education secretary Bridget Phillipson, with the latter stressing the new government had “a lot to get on with”.

Energy secretary Ed Miliband and business secretary Jonathan Reynolds both arrived at Downing Street together. Speaking to reporters, Miliband said: “It’s good to be back.”

Energy secretary Ed Miliband said ‘it’s good to be back’ as he arrived at Downing Street this morning for a cabinet meeting. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing/Getty Images

Seconds later, foreign secretary David Lammy also appeared and met his fellow ministers before entering No 10.

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New ministers arrive at No 10 for first cabinet meeting

Keir Starmer’s cabinet have been arriving at Downing Street to attend their first cabinet meeting. Here are some images via the newswires:

Deputy prime minister and levelling up, housing and communities secretary Angela Rayner arrives to attend a cabinet meeting at Downing Street. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images
Foreign secretary David Lammy arrives for the first cabinet meeting with prime minister Keir Starmer. Spot Larry in the background. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
Secretary of state for science, innovation and technology Peter Kyle enters 10 Downing Street on Saturday. Photograph: Claudia Greco/Reuters
Ellie Reeves has arrived at Downing Street. Photograph: Claudia Greco/Reuters
Secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs Steve Reed looks happy this Saturday. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
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Suella Braverman said there were “no announcements” on the Tory leadership race, reports the PA news agency.

The former home secretary is expected to throw her hat into the ring in the contest to replace Rishi Sunak, who said he would quit as leader once formal arrangements were in place to select his successor.

Asked whether she would be the next Tory leader, Braverman told broadcasters outside her home on Saturday: “No announcements. We’ve just got to take our time, we’ve got to figure out what the situation is.”

She continued: “It’s been a really bad result. There’s no two ways about it. Hundreds of excellent Tory MPs have been kicked out of office.”

According to the PA news agency, Braverman went on to criticise Keir Starmer for planning to axe the Rwanda deportation scheme, saying:

Years of hard work, acts of parliament, millions of pounds been spent on a scheme which had it been delivered properly would have worked.

But there are big problems on the horizon which will be I’m afraid caused by Keir Starmer.

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We reported earlier that Keir Starmer will be holding his first cabinet meeting today. That will be taking place at 11am.

Keir Starmer to gather his cabinet for first time in No 10 this morning.

It is almost identical to shadow team, with new PM understood to favour stability, & plan to keep them in post.

Also most state educated & female cabinet in history 👇🏼https://t.co/3Zjf4zpRTW

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) July 6, 2024

Later, around 1pm, we’re expecting him to address the media. We will cover that press conference here in the blog.

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Reporting this morning from Downing Street, the BBC’s political correspondent Nick Eardley says he’s been watching a removal van being loaded up. “I’m not sure if it’s Rishi Sunak or Jeremy Hunt’s stuff being moved out,” he says.

Also, he shared this image of Downing Street’s steadfast resident, Larry the cat:

David Cameron and senior Tories push back against swift leadership contest

Rowena Mason

Rowena Mason

Tory grandees including David Cameron are pushing back against the idea of a swift Conservative leadership contest, saying they want the candidates to be tested.

Prospective candidates, including Robert Jenrick, Kemi Badenoch, James Cleverly, Suella Braverman, Tom Tugendhat, Priti Patel, and Victoria Atkins, are among the long list of names believed to be preparing possible bids.

The contenders are readying themselves for a speedy contest to appoint a successor to Rishi Sunak by the early autumn in an effort to challenge the rise of Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party.

But senior figures are pushing for the contest to take place over a longer period to allow candidates to pitch themselves to the grassroots membership in a “beauty contest” at the Conservative conference in early October.

George Osborne, the former Conservative chancellor, said on Friday that Cameron was part of a “big effort … to get Rishi Sunak to just delay the moment when the new leader is chosen”.

He said: “The contest can start, but it doesn’t have to conclude. It’s very important, because these people, these candidates, they’re all government ministers who have now been kicked out of office. None of them have been in opposition.

“None of them have proved their mettle. I think over the next few months, it’s essential, and I know David thinks this and others do too, we just see how these candidates now perform on the opposition benches and use the party conference in the same way that Michael Howard did, to his eternal credit, in 2005.”

You can read the full report by Rowena Mason and Eleni Courea here:

Former Tory minister may become Labour’s ‘planning tsar’

Richard Partington

Richard Partington

Labour has approached a former Conservative minister to help steer through its proposals to bulldoze planning rules, with a flurry of changes expected within days to “get Britain building” millions of new homes.

Nick Boles, who was a planning minister in David Cameron’s coalition government, has been approached for a review of the UK’s National Planning Policy Framework, with the aim of making it easier to build homes, laboratories, digital infrastructure and gigafactories.

Keir Starmer is preparing to announce immediate changes to planning regulations as early as next week, including reinstating mandatory targets for local authorities to build more homes and making it easier to build on green belt land.

Labour is also planning to launch a consultation to decide where to build a series of new towns, with the aim of selecting sites by the end of the year.

Rachel Reeves, the new chancellor, has put planning reform at the heart of her growth plans, arguing that none of the party’s broader housebuilding and infrastructure plans will work without it.

Party sources said that Boles, who switched his allegiance from the Tories to Labour in late 2022 shortly after Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget, could be made a “planning tsar” to help pilot a broad-ranging review of the system.

Boles, who made his name as a minister by pushing for wide-ranging planning reform, has criticised the Conservative party for dropping the agenda under pressure from backbench MPs.

You can read the full piece by Richard Partington and Kiran Stacey here:

The Guardian’s political editor, Pippa Crerar, has written this piece packed full of interesting insights into how Labour won the general election.

Crerar explains how each decision made in “the cell” was framed by three key messages and pushed along by a well-disciplined operation.

Take a look inside the campaign that led to “Starmergeddon” here:

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Dan Sabbagh

Dan Sabbagh

My Guardian colleague Dan Sabbagh has looked at how No 10 slipped from Rishi Sunak’s grasp. He writes:

Rishi Sunak became Britain’s prime minister quickly and unexpectedly in October 2022 after the short, financially catastrophic premiership of Liz Truss and the leadership of Boris Johnson, whose loose moral compass had allowed Downing Street to party while the rest of the UK was locked down.

The economic situation was dire – inflation at 11%, mortgages threatening to soar by £5,000 a year – and the political inheritance more desperate. But since then the 44-year-old prime minister has failed to turn around the Conservative’s fortunes. Lacking a transformative touch, he led the party to a historic defeat.

“Undoubtedly, Rishi had a difficult hand,” said Lee Cain, a former No 10 director of communications under Johnson who has also advised Sunak and now runs his own firm, Charlesbye Strategy.

“But he played it poorly. He had broadly the wrong strategy from the start, in an environment where people were crying out for change. You heard it in every focus group, but Rishi came in and positioned himself as the status quo candidate.”

Team Sunak’s original plan was to under-promise and over-deliver. On the day he started, his Conservatives were 30 points behind the Labour opposition in the polls. In his first address to the nation as prime minister, Sunak promised “integrity, professionalism and accountability” and said: “Trust is earned. And I will earn yours.”

There are arguably two Sunaks. The first is an immigrant success story: a British Asian from Southampton, Hampshire, a practising Hindu, the son of a GP and pharmacist, who made the historic achievement of becoming the UK’s first non-white prime minister. At the age 42, he was the youngest leader of the country in more than 200 years.

The other is a full member of Britain’s old fashoned establishment, who studied at the fee-paying Winchester College, then Oxford, before a career in the City of London and California’s Silicon Valley and a plum seat in parliament. This is the man married to a wealthy heiress, Akshata Murty, whose shareholding in the Indian IT business her father co-founded is worth nearly £600m.

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