First meeting between Starmer and Biden on US visit

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By Creative Media News

  • Starmer meets Biden at NATO summit
  • UK commits to 2.5% defense spending
  • Discusses reducing House of Lords size

Sir Keir Starmer will meet with US President Joe Biden for the first time today at the White House.

The prime minister traveled to the United States overnight for a NATO summit commemorating the 75th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Speaking on the plane, Sir Keir told reporters that he expects the bilateral agreement in Washington DC to provide an opportunity to discuss NATO and the so-called UK-US special partnership.

This is a very special relationship we have between the UK and the US,” he stated. He highlighted “a special aspect of defense and security for obvious reasons, including our commitment to NATO.”

He also told the media that the UK had a “cast-iron commitment” to spend 2.5% of national revenue on defense but refused to give a timetable for when that would be accomplished.

An assessment of defense capabilities, ordered by the incoming government, will lay a road map for achieving the goal.

Defence Secretary John Healey stated that the assessment would assist the government in “getting to grips with the threats we face, the capabilities we need for the future, and the state of our armed forces.”

When asked when the aim would be met, he stated that the administration needed “the chance to open the books and get to grips with the terrible state of public finances.”

He stated that the defense review could not be completed in weeks but would be “done properly” and “done at a pace.

The Conservatives, who committed during the election to meet 2.5% by 2030, have stated that failing to specify a schedule would “cast serious doubt” on the government’s commitment to security.

Foreign Secretary David Lammy and Minister for European Relations Nick Thomas-Symonds have joined Prime Minister Healey on his tour.

After arriving in Washington, Sir Keir and Mr Thomas-Symonds met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The prime minister also met with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Sir Keir reiterated his support for Ukraine, adding, “There’s a change of government but no change of approach.

Mr. Zelensky hailed the UK for being “with us from the beginning of the war.

While the prime minister is in Washington, more than 300 new MPs are being sworn in at Westminster in preparation for the state opening of parliament next week when the King’s Speech will outline the government’s agenda.

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During his journey to the United States, Sir Keir was asked if he thought the government’s plans to impose age restrictions in the House of Lords, forcing peers to retire at 80, should be imposed across the board.

The House of Lords’ size and role—with 784 sitting members—have come under growing scrutiny in recent years. Sir Keir has previously proposed an alternative and elected a second chamber based on models from around the world.

This would have an impact on Labour peers such as Lord Alf Dubs, who arrived in the UK as a kid fleeing the Nazis and has long advocated for refugee rights at the age of 91.

Sir Keir replied: “We’ve got 800-plus members of the House of Lords – it’s simply too big.”We need to lower it so that it does not affect how other elected representatives are chosen in other countries; it is related to the size of the House of Lords.

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