Leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer has addressed the public for the first time as Prime Minister of the UK, saying "we need to move forward together."

Speaking in Downing Street this afternoon, where he was greeted with applause, he said: “I have just returned from Buckingham Palace, where I accepted an invitation from His Majesty the King to form the next Government of this great nation.

“I want to thank the outgoing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. His achievement as the first British-Asian prime minister of our country, the extra effort that will have required, should not be underestimated by anyone. And we paid tribute to that today.

“We also recognise the dedication and hard work he brought to his leadership.”

Mr Starmer added: “But now our country has voted decisively for change, for national renewal and a return of politics to public service.

“When the gap between the sacrifices made by people and the service they receive from politicians grows this big, it leads to a weariness in the heart of a nation, a draining away of the hope, the spirit, the belief in a better future.

“But we need to move forward together. Now this wound, this lack of trust can only be healed by actions not words, I know that.

“But we can make a start today with the simple acknowledgement that public service is a privilege and that your government should treat every single person in this country with respect.”

It comes after Mr Starmer was formally appointed by King Charles at Buckingham Palace a short while ago and accepted the role of forming a government.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “The King received in Audience The Right Honourable Sir Keir Starmer MP today and requested him to form a new Administration. Sir Keir accepted His Majesty’s offer and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.”

Starmer: UK experiencing “sunlight of hope” as Labour win General Election

Labour won the 2024 General Election after 648 of the 650 Commons seats had been declared, meaning the party had a majority of 176 after 14 years out of power.

In total, Labour had 412 seats and the Conservatives 121.

Earlier today, former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued a statement.

Mr Sunak said: “Following this result I will step down as party leader – not immediately, but once the formal arrangements for selecting my successor are in place.

“It is important that, after 14 years in government, the Conservative Party rebuilds, but also that it takes up its crucial role in opposition professionally and effectively.”

First Days of a New Prime Minister

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He added: “This is a difficult day at the end of a number of difficult days. But I leave this job honoured to have been your Prime Minister.

“This is the best country in the world. And it is thanks entirely to you, the British people, the true source of all our achievements, our strengths and our greatness.”

After speaking in Downing Street, Mr Sunak travelled by car to Buckingham Palace to resign as Prime Minister.