LONDON (Reuters) – Keir Starmer was elected as the leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party on Saturday, pledging to bring an end to years of bitter infighting and to work with the government to contain the raging coronavirus pandemic.
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s opposition Labour Party Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer speaks to members of the media as he leaves the BBC headquarters after appearing on The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain January 5, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions who was known for a forensic attention to detail when opposing the country’s exit from the European Union, won with 56% of the vote.
The comprehensive defeat of an ally of the outgoing leader Jeremy Corbyn, and the election of Angela Rayner as Starmer’s deputy, heralds the end of the party leadership’s embrace of a radical socialism that was crushed in the December election.
Starmer, who takes over immediately, said he would work constructively with government when it was the right thing to do, while testing Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s arguments and challenging the failures.
“Our purpose when we do that is the same as the government’s, to save lives,” he said in a statement that was pre-recorded due to the pandemic.
Starmer added that once the country emerges on the other side, once the hospital wards have emptied and the threat subsided, it would need to build a fairer society, where key workers on the front line receive decent salaries and better chances in life.
“In their courage and their sacrifice and their bravery