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Four people to know in UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer's new cabinet

Britain's Prime Minister Keir Starmer, left, with Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner, second left, hosts his first Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London, July 2024.
Britain's Prime Minister Keir Starmer, left, with Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner, second left, hosts his first Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London, July 2024. Copyright Chris Eades/PA
Copyright Chris Eades/PA
By Tamsin Paternoster
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New UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer has appointed his cabinet. Who's in it?

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Newly elected British Prime Minister Keir Starmer has settled into government after his party won a landslide victory last week.

His cabinet, appointed on Friday, has set records for having the most female and state school-educated ministers in the UK's history.

Meet some of his closest associates who are set to shape the UK government's policy in the upcoming years:

1. Angela Rayner, Deputy PM and Secretary for Housing

Angela Rayner is in a unique position in Starmer's party in that she is the only person, apart from Starmer himself, who has been elected directly by the Labour Party.

Born into poverty in Stockport, Greater Manchester, Rayner has risen from humble beginnings to one of UK's most powerful women, after she left school at the age of 16 while pregnant with her first child.

Describing herself as working class, the straightforward-talking MP was first elected in Ashton-under-Lyne in 2015 after working as a care worker and trade union official.

Her links to the UK trade union movement place her to the left of the Labour Party. However, she has been known to compromise, telling UK broadcaster Sky News she would not allow political "principles" to prevent her party from gaining power.

Rayner's immediate tasks include pushing through workplace reforms to improve workers' rights and devolving power from Westminster to regional mayors across the UK.

UK's Angela Rayner Deputy Leader of the Labour Party applauds at the launch of The Labour party's 2024 general election manifesto in Manchester, England, June 13, 2024.
UK's Angela Rayner Deputy Leader of the Labour Party applauds at the launch of The Labour party's 2024 general election manifesto in Manchester, England, June 13, 2024.Jon Super/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

2. Rachel Reeves, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Rachel Reeves made history on Friday when she was appointed the UK's first-ever woman Chancellor of the Exchequer, responsible for overseeing the country's economic policy.

First elected in 2010, Reeves said she hoped her appointment would inspire a new generation of women, calling it a "historic responsibility".

She is set to navigate tricky terrain as she tries to balance promising renewal for the UK's public services with the country's real fiscal challenges.

Reeves often moves in line with Starmer's policies, and will follow him in trying to portray the party as financially responsible in her first task of outlining Labour's first budget and spending review in October.

She has already gone to great lengths to point out that the Labour party has inherited a bad economic outlook from its Conservative predecessors, using her first speech to call for an assessment of the government's spending inheritance.

UK Chancellor Rachel Reeves delivers a speech at the Treasury, in London, Monday July 8, 2024.
UK Chancellor Rachel Reeves delivers a speech at the Treasury, in London, Monday July 8, 2024.Jonathan Brady/WPA

3. David Lammy, Foreign Secretary

David Lammy has already been keeping busy as the UK's new foreign secretary, having visited Germany, Poland and Sweden this weekend.

In a speech uploaded to his X account, Lammy described himself as a "working class man from Tottenham," pointing out his heritage as a descendant of enslaved people.

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The 51-year-old was raised in a single-parent household and rose up the chains of the Labour Party after being elected in 2002.

He was the first black Briton to attend Harvard Law School after graduating with a degree in law from SOAS University. He counts former US President Barack Obama as one of his friends.

Lammy has made the promise of "reconnection" central to his programme as foreign secretary, criticising the UK as previously being caught up in an "inward-looking conversation".

He has indicated he would be eager to create a new security pact with the European Union in an effort to reconstruct the relationship after years of hostility under Brexit.

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Elsewhere, he has affirmed his support for Ukraine, supported an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and was forced to soften his tone when referring to US President Donald Trump — who he previously called a "racist".

4. Wes Streeting, Health and Social Care Secretary

Perhaps not so engaged with foreign affairs, Wes Streeting has a mammoth task within the UK in transforming its healthcare service that has been battered with months of doctor's pay disputes and underfunding.

Streeting was born and raised in east London, with his grandmother famously linked to Christine Keeler — a former showgirl whose involvement in the Profumo Affair rocked 1960s Britain.

He was previously president of the National Union of Students before entering the House of Commons in 2015.

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Streeting has had strong words for England's healthcare provider, the National Health Service (NHS), calling it "broken" and making it his first task in office to talk with junior doctors who have been embroiled in a strike over pay.

He faces the difficult task of reforming the NHS and, crucially, reducing waiting times for appointments with a limited budget.

Wes Streeting, UK's Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care at the launch of The Labour party's 2024 general election manifesto, Thursday, June 13, 2024.
Wes Streeting, UK's Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care at the launch of The Labour party's 2024 general election manifesto, Thursday, June 13, 2024.AP Photo/Jon Super
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