HomeNewsCardinal Nichols welcomes Starmer's commitment to working with churches

Cardinal Nichols welcomes Starmer’s commitment to working with churches

NEW Prime Minister Keir Starmer has been welcomed by Cardinal Vincent Nichols after his comments about wanting his government to work with churches and faith groups.

Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, secured a decisive victory in the July 4 general election, unseating the Conservative Party after their 14-year tenure.

In his concession speech at Downing Street, outgoing Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak acknowledged voter dissatisfaction. “I have heard your anger, disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss,” Sunak stated.

Cardinal Nichols expressed optimism about engaging constructively with Starmer’s administration. “On behalf of the Catholic community in England and Wales, I congratulate you on your election victory. I assure you of my good wishes as you take on the responsibilities of forming and leading the government,” Nichols wrote to Starmer.

Emphasising the Church’s extensive collaboration with the UK government, particularly in education with over two thousand schools jointly operated with the state, Nichols noted, “We look forward to continuing this partnership and working together across various sectors. Your commitment to a government that collaborates with churches and faith communities is most welcome, and we stand ready to contribute.”

Starmer has outlined ambitious plans to revive the UK economy, which has struggled since Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. His proposals include overhauling employment laws, renationalising most passenger rail services, and establishing state-owned energy companies. However, he acknowledges that economic recovery is vital for the success of these initiatives.

Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD, the international aid agency of the English Catholic Church, also congratulated Starmer. “We welcome the new government at a critical time of global inequality and multiple crises, both domestically and internationally,” Allen said. She highlighted the global debt crisis affecting billions, urging Starmer to support fair debt settlements through UK law, similar to actions during the Jubilee year of 2000.

Allen called for urgent action on humanitarian crises in Sudan and Gaza. “We must urgently assist Sudan, where 750,000 face famine and millions are displaced, and in Gaza, where a just and peaceful resolution to conflict and humanitarian aid are urgently needed,” she stressed.

The Gaza conflict influenced voting in England, with Labour MP Jon Ashworth losing his Leicester South seat to an independent candidate advocating for peace in Palestine.

Allen echoed Pope Francis’s call for politicians to embrace their “lofty vocation.” “We look forward to working with the new government and all Members of Parliament to promote the common good and act as ‘good Samaritans, not indifferent bystanders’,” she emphasized.

In his message to Starmer, Nichols acknowledged the challenges ahead. “I know the road ahead may not be easy, but I wish you well as you embark on it. I will keep you and your family in my prayers,” Nichols concluded.

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