Eight memorable moments from the UK election campaign


A BBC interview, in which he talked about caring for his severely disabled son, was widely seen and helped the Lib Dems nudge up in the polls.

Davey’s party won 71 seats, their best result in a century.

Liz Truss loses her seat

Ever since she lost her battle with a lettuce, Truss has been a figure of mass ridicule. But her 49-day reign in Number 10 is widely thought to have contributed to the shocker of an election campaign for the Conservatives.

Former prime minister Liz Truss looks on as she loses her Norfolk South West seat.

Former prime minister Liz Truss looks on as she loses her Norfolk South West seat.Credit: nna\KCampbell

The former prime minister, whose turbulent 45-day period in power has been blamed by many Conservatives for Thursday’s historic defeat, lost her seat of South West Norfolk by 640 votes to the Labour candidate, Terry Jermy.

She now in the record books as the shortest reigning PM, and the first person to have been prime minister in 100 years to lose their seat in the House of Commons.

She goes down in history as the Tory MP with the largest ever swing to Labour.

Nigel Farage returns, with added milkshake

Potentially the most significant event of the whole campaign and Rishi Sunak’s worst nightmare was Nigel Farage taking over as leader of Reform UK, the party he owns.

He ended up with just five seats in parliament, including one for himself after seven previous attempts.

Nigel Farage’s ambition will only have been fortified by his modest parliamentary breakthrough and the 98 seats where Reform is currently in second place, almost all of them to Labour.

Nigel Farage’s ambition will only have been fortified by his modest parliamentary breakthrough and the 98 seats where Reform is currently in second place, almost all of them to Labour.Credit: Getty Images

Reform leapt from 11 per cent in the first week of the campaign to roughly 14 per cent on polling day, as Farage grabbed the limelight and injected some energy into an often lacklustre campaign.

On day one a woman who publishes pictures on the explicit website OnlyFans was charged with assault by beating and criminal damage after a McDonald’s banana milkshake was thrown at him.

Did you know Keir Starmer’s dad was a toolmaker?

Most people following British politics would probably know by now that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s father was a toolmaker. He has talked many times about his working-class background and the way it informs his politics.

Keir Starmer, UK prime minster: son of a toolmaker.

Keir Starmer, UK prime minster: son of a toolmaker.Credit: Bloomberg

The one time he became angry was during a Sky News debate, when he said his father would be “turning in his grave” at the way many members of the audience laughed when he said that he had worked in a factory.

“”It hit a nerve last night. He felt that – in the usual conversation when someone says ‘what do you do for a living?’ when socially, he would say ‘I work in a factory’, and there would be a pause, and nobody quite knew what to say.”

It didn’t stop the constant jokes about it on social media.

Rishi Sunak, most days.

In a campaign riddled with gaffes from the prime minister it really is difficult to choose.

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi calls an election as heavy rain falls.

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi calls an election as heavy rain falls.Credit: AP

The perception of accident-prone took hold from the moment a sodden Sunak announced the election date on May 22.

He then went to the shipyard where the Titanic was built in Belfast, leading to obvious comparisons with his campaign and sinking ships.

But given that Sunak was trying to stop older voters defecting to Farage’s Reform UK, rushing home from a D-Day event simply confirmed in many people’s minds that the Tory campaign was doomed.

He finished the campaign on breakfast TV sitting next to the world’s most tattooed woman.

Exit poll met with questionable noises on Sky News

As the exit poll came in on Sky News, the opening scenes were met with some strange noises.

Kay Burley along with the Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham made sounds of shock and awe as the poll indicated that Keir Starmer’s Labour Party was forecasting a landslide.

Elmo congratulates the new prime minister

One of Sir Keir Starmer’s first acts after being voted in was to shake hands with an adult-sized Elmo from Sesame Street.

He was congratulated on his win by independent candidate Bobby “Elmo” Smith.

While the independent candidate came in 12th place in the results, earning the least amount of votes at 19, the footage went viral.

Novelty candidates is a terribly British thing and trying to explain it to the rest of the world is tough.

Count Binface, a self-described intergalactic space warrior, was gunning for Sunak’s constituency seat in Richmond and Northallerton, pledging to voters in his manifesto to introduce national service for former prime ministers and invite European countries to join the UK.

Sunak also has a run-in with another electoral candidate who had also set his sights on this seat – YouTuber Niko Omilana.

When Sunak gave a speech following the declaration of the count Omilana held an “L” printed on a piece of paper behind his head.

Rishi Sunak’s farewell speech

Sunak saved his greatest speech as prime minister until last, with a gracious, heart-felt and conciliatory statement before departing Downing Street.

Several American commentators seized on it, with a subtle nod to the not-so peaceful transition of power in the United States four years ago.

In his exit speech on the steps of No 10 he apologised to the country after Labour won a historic landslide, telling voters: “I am sorry.”

“I have given this job my all. But you have sent a clear message, and yours is the only judgement that matters. This is a difficult day, but I leave this job honoured to have been prime minister of the best country in the world.”

Sunak also congratulated Keir Starmer on Labour’s resounding victory, saying: “In this job his successes will be all our successes and I wish him and his family well. Whatever our disagreements in this campaign he is a decent, public-spirited man who I respect.”

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