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2024 United Kingdom elections: Who is Keir Starmer, poised to become UK’s next PM

NEW DELHI: Exit polls for the 2024 UK general elections have predicted a resounding win for the opposition Labour party and an end to the nearly 15-year-long Conservative rule. The final results are expected to be announced by late Friday morning (IST).
The first national ballot since Boris Johnson won the Conservative party a decisive victory in 2019 follows Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s surprise call to hold an election six months earlier than required.His gamble looks set to backfire spectacularly, with exit polls pointing to a heavy defeat for his right-wing party.

The Centre-left Labour is projected to win its first general election since 2005 by historic proportions.
With the exit polls out, 61-year-old Labour leader Keir Starmer seems set to be the next resident of 10 Downing Street, as leader of the largest party in parliament.
Results from the UK’s 650 constituencies trickle in overnight, with the winning party expected to hit 326 seats — the threshold for a parliamentary majority — as dawn breaks on Friday.
Polls suggest voters will punish the Tories after 14 years of often chaotic rule and could oust a string of government ministers, with talk that even Sunak himself might not be safe. That would make him the first sitting prime minister not to retain his seat in a general election.

All you need to know about Keir Starmer

  • Keir Starmer was born in London in 1962 and grew up in the town of Oxted, Surrey, where he was raised by his toolmaker father and NHS nurse mother.[3]
  • He was politically active from a young age, joining the Labour Party Young Socialists at 16.
  • Starmer has a strong academic background, holding a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Leeds and a postgraduate Bachelor of Civil Law degree from the University of Oxford.
  • Prior to entering politics, Starmer had a successful career as a human rights barrister, serving as a human rights adviser to the Northern Ireland Policing Board and being appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002.
  • Starmer was Director of Public Prosecutions from 2008 to 2013, where he dealt with high-profile cases like the Stephen Lawrence murder.
  • He was elected to the House of Commons in 2015 as the MP for Holborn and St Pancras, a safe Labour seat.
  • Starmer supported the unsuccessful Britain Stronger in Europe campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum, but later advocated for a second referendum under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
  • After Corbyn’s resignation, Starmer won the 2020 Labour leadership election on a left-wing platform, positioning himself as a more centrist, pragmatic leader.[3]
  • As Labour leader, Starmer has sought to distance the party from the Corbyn era, emphasizing a more professional and electorally viable approach.[1][4]
  • Starmer is known for his vegetarianism, self-professed socialism, and a reputation that divides opinions, with some viewing him as moving towards the right in his pursuit of power.

Here are Keir Starmer’s key policies as the likely next UK PM:

  • Economic stability: Starmer has pledged to “deliver economic stability” by sticking to “tough spending rules” and focusing on growing the economy. He has avoided making big-spending promises, instead emphasizing fiscal responsibility.
  • NHS improvements: Starmer plans to “cut NHS waiting times” by providing 40,000 more evening and weekend appointments each week. This is aimed at addressing the NHS’s staffing and backlog issues.
  • Border security: Starmer wants to “launch a new Border Security Command” to crack down on illegal migration and people-smuggling gangs. He has indicated a willingness to do a deal with the EU on migrant quotas.
  • Energy nationalisation: Starmer has promised to “set up Great British Energy”, a new publicly owned clean power company, as part of Labour’s plans for green energy transition.
  • Tackling anti-social behaviour: Starmer has pledged to “crack down on anti-social behaviour” as part of his law and order agenda.
  • Education funding: Starmer has committed to “recruit 6,500 new teachers” in key subjects to address staffing shortages in the education system.
  • Foreign policy: Starmer has promised a “new strategic partnership” with India, including pursuing a free trade agreement. He also plans to stop arms sales to Israel and progress towards recognizing a Palestinian state.

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