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Who is in Keir Starmer’s new U.K. government?

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LONDON — Britain’s new Prime Minister Keir Starmer appointed his new government on Friday, a day after the Labour Party won a large majority in Parliament, ending 14 years of Conservative Party governance in the country.

Starmer, whose own working-class background and long experience in the legal sector made him stand out from many of his Conservative colleagues, has chosen people from a range of backgrounds for his top positions, with three of Britain’s most important political positions going to women.

Rachel Reeves was appointed to be Britain’s first female chancellor

The position, also known as finance minister, is arguably the second most powerful position in the government after the prime minister. Reeves, 45, acknowledged the significance of her appointment on social media, writing: “to every young girl and woman reading this, let today show that there should be no limits on your ambitions.”

Reeves comes to the job with a background in finance — she worked at the Bank of England and in private finance — and said she’s aware of the challenges ahead. Labour has said that economic growth will be its first priority, but expanding an economy can be hard to do.

“There’s not a huge amount of money there,” Reeves told the BBC on Friday. “I know the scale of the challenge I inherit.”

Yvette Cooper was appointed home secretary, overseeing domestic security and policy

The Home Office is often considered one of the hardest briefs. Cooper, an experienced 55-year-old politician with strong communication skills, has served as Labour’s point person on home affairs at two different times. Issues around immigration will be a big part of her job.

She has already said that Labour will scrap the Conservative Party’s plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda and would instead introduce a new border security unit.

David Lammy has been named as foreign secretary

Lammy, a 51-year-old lawyer by training and the son of Guyanese immigrants, also served as a minister in the cabinets of Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. As shadow foreign secretary while in the opposition, he made the case for Britain to adopt “progressive realism” in its foreign policy.

“Progressive realism means taking the world as it is, not as we wish it to be,” Lammy said in an interview published by the French journal Le Grand Continent. He defined this doctrine as putting “realism at the service of progressive goals, like countering climate change, defending democracy, promoting the international rule of law and accelerating towards UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

Lammy was born in London to parents who immigrated from the nation of Guyana, which was a British colony until 1966. Speaking to Le Grand Continent, he said, “If I have the privilege to serve I will be the first foreign secretary to be able to trace my lineage back to Africa through the Atlantic slave triangle trade.”

Angela Rayner was chosen as deputy prime minister

Rayner, 44, had been a high-profile member of Labour’s election campaign as deputy leader of the party. Raised in Stockport, a town in Greater Manchester, she left school at 16 while pregnant and later became a care worker. She entered Parliament nine years ago after years working within trade unions.

The title deputy prime minister is the second highest rank of minister to the crown, but it was not historically used and has not been used by all recent prime ministers. Rayner was also appointed as secretary of state for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, a position responsible for local government across Britain.

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Rayner is well-known for her direct manner of speaking, earning her many fans as well as some critics. In 2021, she declined to apologize after labeling some of her Conservative colleagues “a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, absolute vile.”

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