Keir's Class of 2024: Starmer welcomes new MPs in first Parliamentary speech as Prime Minister

9 July 2024, 15:22 | Updated: 9 July 2024, 16:43

Sir Keir Starmer has addressed the House of Commons for the first time as Prime Minister
Sir Keir Starmer has addressed the House of Commons for the first time as Prime Minister. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Sir Keir Starmer has addressed the House of Commons for the first time as Prime Minister, telling new MPs the "politics of performance" must be replaced with a "politics of service".

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The Prime Minister began his address to the Commons by congratulating Sir Lindsay Hoyle on his re-election of House of Commons speaker.

Sir Keir then welcomed all new members in the House, before paying tribute to Sir Edward Leigh, who is the new Father of the House.

The PM then paid tribute to the new Mother of the House, Diane Abbott.

"And given all that diversity... I hope you will not begrudge me with a slight departure from convention to also pay tribute to the new Mother of the House, Diane Abbott," Sir Keir told the Commons.

"Who has done so much in her career over so many years to fight for a parliament that truly represents modern Britain. We welcome her back to her place."

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer speaking in the House of Commons
Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer speaking in the House of Commons. Picture: Alamy
Parliament sits for the first time post-election
Parliament sits for the first time post-election. Picture: Alamy

Following Sir Keir's remarks, it was Rishi Sunak's turn to address the Commons as the official Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Sunak began by welcoming new MPs before wishing the new Prime Minister with the "formidable task" he faces.

"He and his family deserve the good wishes of all of us," the former Prime Minister said.

"Whatever disputes we may have in this parliament, I know everyone in this House will not lose sight of the fact we are all motivated by our desire to serve our constituents, our country, and advance the principles that we honourably believe in."

Read More: David Cameron quits frontline politics as Rishi Sunak unveils shadow cabinet with Tory party chairman to step aside

Mr Sunak repeated his apologies to former Tory MPs who lost their seats during last week elections, a message he gave during his last speech as PM.

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak. Picture: Parliament

"It is important that after 14 years in government, the Conservative Party rebuilds," the Conservative leader said.

Mr Sunak then vowed the party will serve in opposition "professionally, effectively, and humbly", though it remains unclear how long he will stay in the role.

Farage enters Commons with a Bercow bang

Reform UK leader, Nigel Farage speaking in the House of Commons
Reform UK leader, Nigel Farage speaking in the House of Commons. Picture: Alamy

Nigel Farage, the leader of Reform UK and MP for Clacton, has also addressed the House of Commons for the first time.

He told the re-elected Sir Lindsay Hoyle that he endorses him as speaker.

But Farage then launched an attack against John Bercow, the former Commons Speaker, who he described as “a little man” who tried to overturn Brexit.

"It is, I must say, in marked contrast to the little man that was there before you and besmirched the office so dreadfully in doing his best to overturn the biggest democratic result in the history of the country," Farage said.

Read More: Keir Starmer to call for ‘better way of working’ on UK-wide trip, as he turns to key Blair ally to fix ‘broken’ NHS

All party leaders were given a chance to address the Commons for the first time since the election, including the Lib Dems leader Sir Ed Davey.

"We on these benches will hold the Government to account, that is our job. We will focus on the health and care crisis, we will focus on ending the sewage scandal, we will focus on helping people with a cost of living crisis," Sir Ed said.

Meanwhile, the Green Party's co-leader Adrian Ramsay said: "I can already say on behalf of the new cohort of Green MPs that we have been very pleased with the support you have given us when you've shown that you go out of your way to support new members in this House and support MPs of all parties to be able to hold the Government to account and represent (their) constituents."

"May I associate myself with the remarks of the Prime Minister about the importance of politics being about public service?

"And I very much hope in this new Parliament, we can all move to a less tribal form of politics where we work together where we can agree and move things forward in the national interest."

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