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Keir Starmer officially appointed UK Prime Minister as Rishi Sunak resigns

Britain’s head of state King Charles III officially appointed Labour leader Keir Starmer as Prime Minister on Friday during an audience at Buckingham Palace.

A photograph released by the palace showed the monarch shaking hands with Starmer, whose party won a landslide election victory. The king earlier accepted the resignation of Conservative leader Rishi Sunak.

“The King received in audience The Right Honourable Sir Keir Starmer MP today and requested him to form a new administration.
“Sir Keir accepted His Majesty’s offer and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury,” a palace statement read.

Rishi Sunak apologised to the country after his catastrophic election loss and said he had heard voters’ “anger and disappointment” and desire for change.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street after a disastrous night for the Conservative party, Sunak confirmed his resignation as prime minister and said: “To the country I would like to say first and foremost, I am sorry.

“I have given this job my all, but you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change. And yours is the only judgment that matters.

“I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.”

He also said he would step down as Conservative leader once the arrangements for selecting his successor were in place. The party appears likely to win just over 121 seats, its worst result in history.

Sunak also congratulated Keir Starmer on Labour’s resounding victory, saying: “In this job his successes will be all our successes and I wish him and his family well. Whatever our disagreements in this campaign he is a decent, public-spirited man who I respect.

“He and his family deserve the very best of our understanding as they make the huge transition to their new lives behind this door.”

By 11am when all but two constituencies had declared their results, Labour had won a huge landslide with more than 410 seats.

Sunak said the Tories now needed to rebuild and take up their “crucial” role in opposition. He also apologised to the party’s candidates and campaigners: “I’m sorry that we could not deliver what your efforts deserved. It pains me to think how many good colleagues who contributed so much to their communities and our country will now no longer sit in the House of Commons.”

He then travelled to Buckingham Palace for his final audience with the king before Starmer formally becomes prime minister.

Speaking about his legacy, Sunak said he had brought down inflation to the Bank of England target of 2%, put mortgage rates on a downward trajectory and enhanced the UK’s international standing. He cited support for Ukraine and the negotiation of the Windsor framework on post-Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland.

“I’m proud of those achievements. I believe this country is safer, stronger and more secure than it was 20 months ago,” he said. “It is more prosperous, fairer and resilient than it was in 2010.”

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu has congratulated  Starmer on the victory of his party in the UK general election.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, on Friday, the President said as a former leader of the opposition in Nigeria, he specially notes the determination and courage the incoming Prime Minister of the UK demonstrated throughout his years in the opposition and as the leader of the Labour Party.

The President stated that the party’s ability to reform, mobilise, and position itself for victory after 14 years clearly affirms the leadership qualities of Starmer.

Punch/The Guardian

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