Sir Keir Starmer seeks 'reset' with devolved nations as he kicks off UK tour with visit to Scotland

Sir Keir Starmer will begin his tour of the UK nations with a visit to Scotland today where he will meet the country's first minister, John Swinney.

The prime minister announced he would embark on a tour of the UK at his first news conference yesterday since his landslide victory on Thursday.

Sir Keir, whose party won 37 seats in Scotland, said he would travel north of the border first before heading to Northern Ireland, Wales and back to England in a push to improve working relationships with the heads of the devolved governments.

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Speaking ahead of his first official engagement since he was elected, the prime minister said: "People across the United Kingdom are bound by shared beliefs. Fundamental values of respect, service and community which define us as a great nation.

"And that begins today with an immediate reset of my government's approach to working with the first and deputy first ministers, because meaningful cooperation centred on respect will be key to delivering change across our United Kingdom.

"Together we can begin the work to rebuild our country with a resolute focus on serving working people once again."

Sir Keir said he had a "mandate from all four nations" - despite Labour candidates not being on the slate in Northern Ireland - and would seek to "establish a way of working across the United Kingdom that will be different and better to the way of working that we've had in recent years".

During his tour the prime minister will also meet elected regional mayors of all parties, given that "those with skin in the game know what's best for their communities".

Next week will also see Sir Keir make his debut on the international stage when he travels to Washington DC for the NATO leaders' summit.

He will also host the European Political Community Summit in the UK on 18 July.

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After appointing his cabinet on Friday afternoon, Sir Keir chaired its first session the following morning where he told those around the top table: "Now we get on with our work."

The prime minister told his colleagues that while it was "absolutely fantastic" to welcome them to Downing Street, there was a "huge amount" to do after 14 years of Tory rule.

Later in the day he made further ministerial appointments, including appointing former international development secretary Douglas Alexander as a minister in the business department.

Ellie Reeves, the party's deputy national campaign co-ordinator before the election, was made a minister without portfolio, while former South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis was appointed as Home Office minister.

Jim McMahon and Matthew Pennycook were both selected as ministers of state in the levelling up department.

Jacqui Smith, who served as home secretary under Gordon Brown, was chosen as an education minister and will be given a life peerage to allow her to fulfil her role.

Featuring high on the cabinet agenda will be the six first steps Sir Keir set out in the Labour manifesto: delivering economic stability, cutting NHS waiting times, launching a new border security command, creating Great British Energy, cracking down on anti-social behaviour and recruiting 6,500 new teachers.

The prime minister faces a daunting set of problems to contend with in his first few months in office, including an NHS waiting list of 6.3 million patients, the small boats crisis in the Channel, an overstretched prison system and sluggish economic growth.

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Sir Keir's decision to visit Scotland first is symbolic due to the party's significant electoral comeback in the country, which saw it increase its number of seats from one at the last election to 37 now.

By contrast, the previously dominant SNP suffered a catastrophic night and was reduced to just nine MPs in Westminster - down from 38.

In the aftermath of the defeat, Mr Swinney, the SNP leader, said his party would do some "soul searching" and admitted it had not been "winning the argument on independence".

The results have largely been attributed to the internal turbulence that has rocked the SNP over the last two years, with long-time leader Nicola Sturgeon quitting suddenly last year. She was then replaced by Humza Yousaf, who resigned after just over a year as first minister.

A police investigation into the whereabouts of £600,000 raised by supporters for independence campaigning remains ongoing.