close
close

Politics latest: Starmer issues ‘very clear’ message for Putin; poll reveals Tory leadership favourite | Politics News

Politics latest: Starmer issues ‘very clear’ message for Putin; poll reveals Tory leadership favourite |  Politics News

By Darren McCaffrey, political correspondent

If you wanted to gain a sense of how our politics has changed since last Thursday – yesterday was it.

As MPs gathered in the new House of Commons, the electorate got a first glimpse of the UK’s new political landscape.

The government benches heaved with Labour MPs for the first time in more than 14 years.

When I say heave, it was packed with the Commons – deliberately built post WWII to be too small – unable to accommodate the 412 Labour members of parliament.

They sat on the stairs, many stood at the back, others were forced upstairs to the gallery.

It was a different story on the Conservative benches, glum of face – at one stage MPs were told to bunch together to make it look busier.

And the Liberal Democrats, with their record-breaking 72 members (the most for a third party in more than 100 years) have supplanted the SNP, who have been consigned to seats towards the back.

This parliament does not just look different from a party point of view but, as Sir Keir Starmer pointed out in his first speech as prime minister, from the despatch box, the most diverse too.

Of the 650 elected last week, 335 have never been an MP before. Some 263 members are female – more than 40% for the first time.

Ninety MPs are from an ethnic minority background – 14% – up from 66 in the last parliament.

Then there are the new, if familiar faces too, an emotional Diane Abbott who is now mother of the House and of course, Sir Lindsay Hoyle was very happy to be dragged back to the Speaker’s chair.

Jeremy Corbyn has returned, and there are now four Green MPs.

But it will take a little getting used to watching Nigel Farage, on the floor of the House, exchanging words with the new prime minister, Sir Keir.

Yesterday was full of pleasantries, frankly excitement and, at times, bewilderment among the new members.

Our new politics, with such a large parliamentary Labour Party, will be different – but there is little doubt the rows and divisions which define this place won’t take long to emerge.