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Labour’s David Lammy aims for UK foreign policy reset, Rachel Reeves becomes first female chancellor, as PM Starmer appoints cabinet

Labour has said long-term peace and security in the Middle East would be an immediate focus. It has committed to recognising a Palestinian state as a contribution to a renewed peace process which results in a two-state solution.

Lammy, 51, appointed to his new role by Starmer on Friday, travelled widely before the election, particularly to the United States, where he has been working to build ties with Republicans, after once writing in Time magazine that Trump was a “woman-hating, neo-Nazi sociopath”.

Rachel Reeves, Britain’s new chancellor of the exchequer – the first woman to have the job – outside 11 Downing Street on Friday. Photo: Bloomberg

He has met Republican figures seen as candidates for roles in a Trump cabinet, including Mike Pompeo.

Lammy has strong links with leading Democrats and is a close friend of former President Barack Obama, a fellow Harvard Law School alumni.

Common cause

In a speech there in May, Lammy said Labour would always work with the United States “whatever the weather and whoever wins” and he would seek to find “common cause” with Trump.

“I do not believe that he is arguing that the US should abandon Europe. He wants Europeans to do more to ensure a better defended Europe,” he said.

“Were his words in office shocking? Yes, they were. Would we have used them? No. But US spending on European defence actually grew under President Trump, as did the defence spending of the wider alliance, during his tenure.”

Lammy, the son of Guyanese immigrants, represents an inner-London constituency and has spent much of his career campaigning for social and racial justice.

Britain’s new leader Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria are pictured after he delivered his first speech as prime minister on Friday. Photo: Xinhua

He supported Britain remaining in the European Union in the 2016 referendum. While Labour has promised Britain will stay outside the bloc, it wants to reset the relationship and seek to deepen ties, including through a new UK-EU security pact.

Lammy has previously described Marine Le Pen, a leading figure in France’s far-right National Rally (NR), as xenophobic and malevolent. Polls show her party is on course to win the most seats in the French parliamentary election but fall short of an absolute majority.

“France is one of Britain’s closest allies and we will work with whoever is elected. It is a democracy and it is up to the French people who governs them,” Lammy said this week. “We will wait to see what happens in the second round on July 7.”

Meanwhile, Rachel Reeves was appointed Treasury chief by Starmer on Friday, becoming the first woman to be in charge of the country’s finances. The job and title, Chancellor of the Exchequer, date back to the 16th century.

The former Bank of England economist faces the daunting task of delivering Labour’s promise to get the economy growing and invest in public services while working with a large national debt.

Angela Rayner leaves 10 Downing Street on Friday after being appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities. Photo: dpa

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has been appointed deputy prime minister. Rayner, who has served as Starmer’s deputy party leader since 2020, will also take the role of the Secretary for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Rayner has often spoken about her tough background growing up in a deprived public housing block and leaving school early as a young mother.

She started her career as a trade union official before embarking on a career as a lawmaker.

Yvette Cooper has become the home secretary, looking after key issues including immigration and policing. John Healey was named defence secretary.

Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign coordinator, has been appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the most senior minister in the Cabinet after the prime minister.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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