What do the new Prime Minister’s first few days look like?

Sir Keir Starmer took the keys to Downing Street on Friday after voters handed Labour a landslide victory in the General Election.

He took over from Rishi Sunak, who vacated No 10 after the Conservatives suffered a crushing defeat after 14 years in power.

While timings might change, here is a look at the new Prime Minister’s next few days in power.

– Weekend of July 6-7

The new Cabinet, which was appointed on Friday, will meet for the first time on Saturday morning.

Appointments of junior ministers are likely to continue, as will calls from world leaders and first ministers of the devolved nations.

Legislative priorities and the timing of any major policy announcements will also need to be worked out.

Sir Keir has signalled that at least three housing announcements could be made in the first two weeks of a Labour Government.

“The Government has got to show that it’s taking charge immediately, and doing what’s necessary,” Lord Robin Butler, who oversaw the transition as cabinet secretary when Labour swept into power in 1997, told the PA news agency.

Decisions such as allocating office space in No 10 – ill-suited to be a modern workplace with its maze-like layout – “have got to be decided on the first weekend because they’re necessary in order for people to start working”.

Sir Keir’s chief of staff, Sue Gray, who spent years at the top of the Civil Service, will likely be involved in decisions about how the Prime Minister will work, how the centre of Government will be set up and his diary for the first few days – some of which will have been agreed in access talks.

Sue Gray
Sir Keir will work with his chief of staff Sue Gray on structuring the centre of Government (Liam McBurney/PA)

The Labour leader’s expected attendance at the Nato leaders’ summit the following week will also require briefings to be readied and decisions to be made about which officials should accompany him.

Lord O’Donnell, who served as Cabinet Secretary for six years, said: “His briefing pack will be extensive – Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East, the race for the US presidency, European defence spending. There is a lot to take in, and little time to prepare.”

– Tuesday July 9-11

The new Parliament will be summoned to meet.

The first business will be to choose a Commons Speaker – with Sir Lindsay Hoyle set to be re-elected.

Congratulating the Speaker will be Sir Keir’s first opportunity to speak at the despatch box as Prime Minister and he will likely offer some rhetoric on the future.

Swearing-in could begin on the same day or the next and will continue for several days. MPs and peers will take the oath, with the Government going first, followed by some other established figures. MPs are not allowed to speak in debates, vote or receive their salary until they make an oath or solemn affirmation of allegiance to the Crown.

Just days after becoming Prime Minister, Sir Keir will be propelled onto the world stage, jetting to Washington DC for the Nato leaders’ summit which begins on Tuesday and finishes on Thursday.

Issues will include what additional support should be given to Ukraine, the Middle East and the US election in November.

Sir Keir may hold bilateral meetings with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky and US President Joe Biden.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle
Sir Lindsay Hoyle is set to be re-elected as Commons Speaker (Hannah McKay/PA)

– Wednesday July 17

The King will preside over the pageantry of the State Opening of Parliament, marking the formal start of the new parliamentary session at the Palace of Westminster.

A key component of the ceremony is the King’s Speech, where he sets out the Government’s legislative programme for the coming session. The creation of Great British Energy and planning reform are expected to be at the forefront.

No substantive parliamentary business can typically take place until after the speech is delivered. It is debated and voted on in the following days.

Lord Butler said: “One of the biggest decisions which has to be taken, and is a collective decision, is the contents of the King’s Speech. Because they certainly can’t do all the legislation, all the things they promised in their first Parliament.”

– Thursday July 18

The UK is hosting a gathering of the European Political Community, the body that brings all 27 EU member countries together with 20 others from outside the bloc.

General Election campaign 2024
Sir Keir Starmer with his wife Victoria on the election campaign trail (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Keir will welcome about 50 heads of government to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, giving him an opportunity to set the tone for his Government’s approach to the UK’s relationship with the EU.

While Labour has ruled out rejoining the single market or customs union, the party is seeking a better trade relationship with the bloc.

– Tuesday July 23

Before Mr Sunak called the election, this was when summer recess was scheduled to start.

However, this would not leave enough time for the usual six sitting days to debate the King’s Speech.

Sir Keir is expected to cut short the summer break, with MPs sitting until July 31.