Starmer praises ‘most diverse parliament’ in first Commons speech as PM

Sir Keir Starmer has welcomed the “most diverse parliament by race and gender” in his first speech as prime minister in the House of Commons.

Sir Keir spoke following the unopposed election of Sir Lindsay Hoyle as Speaker of the House of Commons, as parliament’s lower chamber reopened following its dissolution during the election.

Rishi Sunak also spoke in the chamber for the first time since leading the Conservatives to a electoral defeat.

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During his speech, Sir Keir said: “Mr Speaker elect, you preside over a new parliament, the most diverse parliament by race and gender this country has ever seen.

“And 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 followed this by paying tribute to Diane Abbott, who is now the mother of the House – the longest continuous serving female MP, although he didn’t mention the wrangling in the party over whether she would be able to represent Labour in the election.

Mr Sunak followed his successor in Number 10 by giving a speech in the Commons.

While speaking, the new leader of the opposition said it was important to remember that while politicians may argue “vigorously”, “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”.

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Mr Sunak appeared as leader of the opposition

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The Conservative leader went on to apologise to the Tory MPs who lost their seats after he called an election.

“I am sorry,” he said.

“We have lost too many diligent community spirited representatives whose wisdom and expertise will be missed in the debates and discussions ahead.

“It is important that, after 14 years in government, the Conservative Party rebuilds.

“So now we will take up the crucial role of His Majesty’s official opposition professionally, effectively and humbly.”

Other party leaders followed with speeches, with many paying tributes to Sir Lindsay.

This included Reform UK leader Nigel Farage making his first speech in the Commons as an MP – who made a joke about the number of attempts it took him to take the seat.

Mr Farage then went on to attack Sir Lindsay’s predecessor John Bercow over Brexit.

Leaders of other parties – including the Liberal Democrats’ Sir Ed Davey, the SNP’s Stephen Flynn and the Greens’ Adrian Ramsay – also spoke in the Commons.

Mr Farage speaking in the Commons for the first time as an MP

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Sir Lindsay was re-elected speaker unopposed, as in customary when the former office holder returns to parliament after the election.

Before Sir Lindsay was elected, the father of the House presided over the House and the election.

The father of the House is the longest-serving member of the Commons, and is currently Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh.

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