Meet the politician who is trying to restore the Red Wall and bring Labor back to power in the UK after 14 years | the world

Meet the politician who is trying to restore the Red Wall and bring Labor back to power in the UK after 14 years |  the world

Keir Starmer, leader of the United Kingdom Labor Party in February 2024 – Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

The Red Wall of the United Kingdom is a cluster of constituencies in central northern England that traditionally elect Labor MPs (red being the party's colour).

Labor politicians won because industrialization was high because the area was highly concentrated in working-class families.

However, in 2019, Labour's biggest rival, the Conservatives, won many of these constituencies.

On Wednesday (22), the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, dissolved Parliament and called an early election on July 4.

Sunak should be the Conservative candidate. Even as the current prime minister, he is at a disadvantage: Starmer is the favourite, by more than 20 points, according to polls of voting intentions.

A favorite who almost gave up politics

Starmer comes from a Labor family – he is also named after Keir Hardy, the founder of the party in the Surrey region. He graduated in Law from the University of Leeds and completed his postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford.

The politician worked as a lawyer specializing in human rights. Still in law, he was a member of the public ministry, even becoming a director of the body. In 2014, he was knighted.

The following year he was elected to Parliament. As a Member of Parliament, he was Labour's spokesperson on issues related to immigration and Brexit. Starmer took the leadership of the Labor Party in 2020.

In 2021, when Labor lost the Hartlepool constituency after decades, Starmer even questioned whether he should continue in politics, Reuters news agency reported.

According to the biography “Keir Starmer: The Biography”, the defeat in Hartlepool was a blow to him, and Starmer continued in politics only after being persuaded by his wife and advisers.

He managed to change the face of the Labor Party: Starmer managed the group with discipline and banned MPs from making promises without a corresponding budget.

The politician also abandoned some of his ideas. For example, he became a campaigner for the nationalization of concessional services such as water and electricity, but later began to defend that private enterprises were more capable of revitalizing the economy.

Now he will lead a party that could return to power and take over a country plagued by problems with the public health service and rising costs of living.

Keir Starmer's Labor Party (centre-left) has 45% of the vote, double that of the Conservatives (20% to 25%).

“In the next few weeks, I will fight for every vote. I will earn your trust. I will show you that only a Conservative government led by me that does not jeopardize our hard-won economic stability can restore pride and confidence in our country,” Sunak said.

Starmer declared the general election an “opportunity for positive change”.

“We can end the chaos, we can turn the page, we can start rebuilding the United Kingdom and we can transform our country,” he said.

But continued good economic news and progress on a plan to expel irregular migrants in Rwanda may have convinced Sunak to call an election.

Shortly before the call, the Office for National Statistics announced that April inflation had fallen to 2.3% year-on-year from 11% in July 2021 when the Prime Minister took office in October 2022.

“I hope my work since taking over as Prime Minister will demonstrate that we have a plan and are ready to take the bold steps needed to make our country prosper,” he said. Sunak said that “the workers have no plan” and as a result “the future is uncertain only for them”.

Labor wins local elections

The Conservatives suffered their worst defeat in 40 years in local elections earlier this month, culminating in Labor victories in London (with Mayor Sadiq Khan re-elected) and other major cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield.

“Everyone wants change,” said accountant Samuel Sackie, who interviewed AFP on the streets of London, although Labor “hasn't really proposed a different policy than the Conservatives.”

“It's about time,” said Stephen Mann, 55, who works in finance. “The current government doesn't work anymore, so at least we can move forward,” he added.

With a simple majority voting system in each of England's 650 constituencies, the situation is complicated for the Conservatives. Of the current 344 representatives, more than 60 have opted out.

The montage shows Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer — Photo: AP

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About the Author: Morton Obrien

"Reader. Infuriatingly humble travel enthusiast. Extreme food scholar. Writer. Communicator."

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