Sir Keir Starmer lays out plans for UK in first press conference as Prime Minister

-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Sir Keir Starmer has unveiled his upcoming plans for the UK as he sets into his role as the new Prime Minister. The Labour Party leader addressed journalists in his first press conference today (July 6) since winning the general election.

Starmer says he is putting 'change' at the forefront of Labour's campaign and is committed to tackling many of the country's problems such as the crippling cost of living crisis, which he says is a direct result of Rishi Sunak and 14 years of the Conservatives in power.

The Labour leader held his first cabinet meeting today following his party's landslide victory with 411 seats, which saw cabinet ministers such as Chancellor Rachel Reeves, Deputy Leader Angela Rayner and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband heading into No.10.

READ MORE: Every plan Labour has for Universal Credit, PIP, State Pension and cost of living

Here is everything that Sir Keir Starmer has said in his first press conference:

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer said the landslide victory in the General Election gave Labour “a clear mandate to govern in all four corners of the United Kingdom”. He said would be visiting all four UK nations and would meet all Metro mayors across the country later in the week.

The Prime Minister told the press conference in Downing Street: “For the first time in 20 plus years we have a majority in England, in Scotland and in Wales and that is a clear mandate to govern for all four corners of the United Kingdom and therefore I shall set off tomorrow to be in all four nations.”

He said he will go first to Scotland, followed by Northern Ireland and then Wales, before returning to England, during which time he will meet First Ministers and “establish a way of working across the United Kingdom that will be different and better to the way of working that we’ve had in recent years and to recognise the contributions of all four nations”.

'Self-interest is yesterday’s politics'

Starmer said it had been a “moment in history” on Saturday morning as some of his top team received their privy seals, which was followed by a meeting in Number 10.

“At that meeting, I had the opportunity to set out to my Cabinet precisely what I expect of them in terms of standards, delivery and the trust that the country has put in them,” Sir Keir said.

He continued: “And yesterday I met Laurie Magnus, the independent adviser on standards, to discuss how we deliver in Government. At the Cabinet meeting I also discussed mission delivery, how we would put into action the plans that we had set out in our manifesto.”

Starmer added: “Self-interest is yesterday’s politics. I want a politics in this country that works for you.” He also told the press: “I reminded the entire Cabinet that we will be judged on actions not on words.”

'Restless for change'

The Prime Minister then said he is “restless for change” as he was asked how soon he can deliver concrete improvements. Answering questions from journalists in Downing Street, he said: “I am restless for change and I think and hope that what you’ve already seen demonstrates that.”

He said the appointments of Sir Patrick Vallance and business chief James Timpson should demonstrate the party’s commitment to change and “it won’t surprise you to know… I’ve been talking to them for some time about the need for the change that we will put in place.”

“We have been planning for months to hit the ground running,” Sir Keir said. He said he had held extensive conversations with Cabinet and there will be “further announcements in the coming days”. “But, look, it is not an overnight exercise changing the country,” Sir Keir said.

'Of country first, party second'

Sir Keir Starmer said “the thing that’s changed already is the mindset of the Government” when asked if he could offer one concrete promise to voters about delivery in the first 100 days.

The Prime Minister said: “It’s a mindset of service. Of country first, party second. That’s not a slogan, that is the test for all of our decisions.”

Asked how he felt when he saw the exit poll, he said he was “pleased” but did not believe it until the final results were coming in. Sir Keir revealed his family were “not quite unpacked yet” and still finding their way around.

“We’ll be moving in soon, but we’ve a bit of work to do before then and of course I’m off to Washington on Tuesday,” he said.

The Labour Party won a landslide victory in the 2024 general election -Credit:Getty Images
The Labour Party won a landslide victory in the 2024 general election -Credit:Getty Images

Raising tax to fund public services

He then said “we’re going to have to take the tough decisions, and take them early” when asked if he would be willing to raise tax to fund public services.

The Prime Minister said he would approach the challenges with a “raw honesty” but insisted that was “not a sort of prelude to saying there’s some tax decision that we didn’t speak about before”.

He told journalists: “In relation to the tough decisions, we’re going to have to take them and take them early. And we will do that with a raw honesty.”

He added: “But that is not a sort of prelude to saying there’s some tax decision that we didn’t speak about before that we’re going to announce now.

“It’s about the tough decisions to fix the problem and being honest about what they are.”

'That's what's gone wrong'

Sir Keir Starmer vowed to “turn our back on tribal politics” because “that’s what’s gone wrong” in the last few years.

The Prime Minister said he wanted to “govern for the whole of the country and take the country forward, and turn our back on tribal politics and simply picking issues we want to fight just for the party politics of it.

“That’s what’s gone wrong, in my view, in the last few years.”

Child benefit cap will remain for now

Starmer said that the two child benefit cap will 'remain in place for now'. The Prime Minister said "it was all the more urgent" to tackle child poverty but that it would not be removed for the time being.

Reduce knife crime

Keir Starmer says he wants to reduce knife crime in the UK. The Labour leader told press he wanted to see "early intervention" with teenage boys to prevent it from happening early on.

Rwanda scheme is 'dead and buried'

Sir Keir Starmer then said the previous Government’s controversial plan to send migrants to Rwanda was “dead and buried”. - a scheme which Rishi Sunak made the Rwanda a key part of the Tory government's priorities.

'I'm proud of my Cabinet'

Sir Keir Starmer said he was proud to have Cabinet ministers who “didn’t have the easiest of starts in life” and reflect the “aspiration” at the heart of Britain.

The Prime Minister said: “I’m really proud of the fact that my Cabinet reflects the aspiration that I believe lies at the heart of our country. That aspiration that so many people have, wherever they started from, to make a journey in life for themselves, for their families, their communities and ultimately for their country.”

Sir Keir had to catch himself referring to the “shadow cabinet”, quickly corrected to say that at the Cabinet meeting, he had told ministers “I’m proud of the fact that we have people around the Cabinet table who didn’t have the easiest of starts in life but to see them sitting in the Cabinet this morning was a proud moment for me and this changed Labour Party and a reinforcement of my belief in that aspiration, which is a value I use to help me make decisions.”

He refused to be drawn on the prospect of further peerages being given to experts, saying: “I don’t want to get ahead of myself. We are making further appointments this afternoon in relation to the front bench.”

Early release of prisoners

The Prime Minister said it is “impossible” to say the Government will stop the early release of prisoners.

“We’ve got too many prisoners, not enough prisons," he said. “That’s a monumental failure of the last government on any basic view of government to get to a situation where you haven’t got enough prison places for prisoners, doesn’t matter what your political stripe, that is a failure of government.

“It’s a failure of government to instruct the police not to arrest. This has not had enough attention, in my view, but it’s what happened.

“We will fix that, but we can’t fix it overnight and therefore it is impossible to simply say we will stop the early release of prisoners and you wouldn’t believe me if I did say it.”