Keir Starmer hails ‘sunlight of hope’ in Labour victory speech

Keir Starmer pledged “change begins now” as he addressed jubilant activists celebrating a landslide election victory.

Twenty-seven years and two months after Tony Blair’s 1997 “new dawn” speech, the Labour leader said Britain was experiencing the “sunlight of hope” and could now “get its future back.”

“We did it,” he told supporters. “You campaigned for it, you fought for it, you voted for it, and now it has arrived - change begins now.”

His speech, at the Tate Modern art gallery on London’s south bank, came shortly after Rishi Sunak publicly conceded the election at his constituency count in North Yorkshire.

“It feels good, I have to be honest,” Sir Keir said. “Four-and-a-half years of work changing the party, this is what it is for - a changed Labour party ready to serve our country, ready to restore Britain to the service of working people.

“And across our country, people will be waking up to the news, relief that a weight has been lifted, a burden finally removed from the shoulders of this great nation.

“And now we can look forward, walk into the morning, the sunlight of hope, pale at first but getting stronger through the day, shining once again, on a country with the opportunity after 14 years to get its future back.”

Keir Starmer embraces his wife, Victoria (Jeff Moore/PA Wire)
Keir Starmer embraces his wife, Victoria (Jeff Moore/PA Wire)

At his acceptance speech after being re-elected in Richmond and Northallerton, Mr Sunak said he had called Sir Keir to congratulate him on his victory.

“The British people have delivered a sobering verdict tonight, there is much to learn... and I take responsibility for the loss,” Mr Sunak said.

However, the night was not without its disappointments for Labour as shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth, who played a prominent role in the party’s media campaign, lost his seat to an independent.

Many other Labour MPs, including Jess Philips, saw their majorities slashed as voters sought to punish the party over its stance on Gaza, or turned to Reform UK.