LEICESTER, United Kingdom – New British Prime Minister Keir Starmers previous comments about wanting a government which works with churches and faith communities have been “most welcome” by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Starmer heads the Labour Party, which won a landslide general election victory on July 4, defeating the Conservative Party, which led the country for the past 14 years.

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak accepted his defeat in a speech in Downing Street in London on Friday morning.

“I have heard your anger, disappointment and I take responsibility for this loss,” he said.

The leader of the Catholic Church said he hoped to work with Starmer in his new role as Prime Minister.

“On behalf of the Catholic community in England and Wales I should like to congratulate you on your victory in yesterday’s general election,” Nichols wrote the new prime minister. “I assure you of my good wishes as you take up your new responsibilities in forming and leading a government.”

The cardinal told Starmer the Catholic Church has a long record of partnership with the UK government, “not least in the area of education where we run over two thousand schools in conjunction with the state.”

“We look forward to this continuing and to working constructively in this and other areas with you, your ministers, and officials. Your previous comments about wanting a government which works with churches and faith communities have been most welcome, and I want you to know that we stand ready to play our part,” Nichols said.

Starmer has pledged to help the British nation recover from an economy suffering since it left the European Union and took a battering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The labour Party plans to overhaul UK employment law, renationalise nearly all passenger rail – one of the most expensive in Europe – and set up a state-owned energy companies.

Yet the new prime minister has acknowledged these plans will be difficult to implement without improving the economy.

Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD – the international aid agency of the English Catholic Church – also congratulated Starmer.

“We welcome our new government who take power at a critical time of growing global inequality and multiple crises, both domestically and internationally,” she said in a statement.

“We face a global debt crisis with 3 billion people living in nations where debt payments exceed their spending on education and health. The Labour party has a strong tradition of action on global debt, they answered the call of the Jubilee year in 2000 as we hope they will do for the Jubilee year 2025 by supporting fair debt settlements through UK law,” Allen said.

“We hope we can work urgently with the new government to act on Sudan where 750,000 people are on the brink of famine with millions more displaced and in Gaza which is desperate for a just and peaceful solution to the conflict and urgent humanitarian assistance,” she continued.

The Gaza conflict has influenced the voting in England, where long-serving Labour Party Member of Parliament Jon Ashworth lost his Leicester South seat to an independent candidate running largely on helping to end the conflict in the Palestinian region.

Allen said leaders should pay head to the words of the leader of the Church.

“Pope Francis has called politics a ‘lofty vocation’ we look forward to working with the new government and all new Members of Parliament to ensure we heed his call to work for the common good and be ‘good Samaritans and not indifferent bystanders’,” she said.

In his message to Starmer, Nichols acknowledged the difficulties the new prime minister faces.

“I know that the road ahead is, perhaps, not the easiest one but I wish you well as you embark upon it. I will keep you and your family in my prayers,” the cardinal said.

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