UK PM Keir Starmer addresses Parliament for first time; hails new house as most diverse in terms of race and gender

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London, Jul 9 (PTI) Keir Starmer on Tuesday hailed the new UK Parliament as the most diverse in terms of race and gender in British history in his maiden address to the House as the Prime Minister, with Opposition Leader Rishi Sunak wishing him well for the “formidable task” ahead.

The Labour Leader, whose party won a landslide victory in last week's general election, hailed the new Parliament as the most diverse in terms of race and gender in history. He also pointed to the new House of Commons having the largest number of LGBT+ MPs of any Parliament in the world as he welcomed the re-election of Sir Lindsay Hoyle as the Speaker.

"Mr Speaker-elect you preside over a new Parliament, the most diverse Parliament by race and gender this country has ever seen,” said 61-year-old Starmer.

“I’m proud of the part that my party has played, proud of the part that every party has played in that. Including, in this intake, the largest cohort of LGBT+ MPs of any parliament in the world,” he said.

“We all have a duty to show that politics can be a force for good. So whatever our political differences, it is now time to turn the page, unite in a common endeavour of national renewal and make this new Parliament a Parliament of service,” he added.

Sunak, re-elected as MP from his North Yorkshire constituency, then delivered his maiden speech as Leader of the Opposition and once again apologised to his Conservative Party colleagues who were missing from the Commons, having lost their seats in the party's worst electoral defeat.

In his capacity as interim leader — having resigned following the party's defeat, the 44-year-old British Indian leader stressed that it was time for the Tories to rebuild and take up the role in Opposition “professionally, effectively and humbly” to hold the new government to account.

Sunak said: “Can I start by congratulating the Prime Minister on his election victory and as he takes on his formidable task he and his family deserve the good wishes of all of us in this House.

“In our politics we can argue vigorously, as the Prime Minister and I did over the past six weeks, but still respect each other and whatever disputes we may have in this Parliament I know that everyone in this House will not lose sight of the fact that we are all motivated by our desire to serve our constituents, our country and advance the principles that we honourably believe in.” The re-elected Speaker opened the proceedings by paying tribute to the new “Father and Mother of the House” — Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh and Labour’s Diane Abbott — the oldest members of the Commons. PTI AK ZH AKJ ZH ZH