Labour’s Keir Starmer claims victory in UK election


The result will likely resonate around the world, with political power swinging back to an internationalist, centre-left party at a time when right-wing populists are advancing in many countries.

An exit poll by Ipsos UK for Sky News/BBC/ITV News, coinciding with the end of voting at 10pm local time, forecasts Labour will win 410 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons. It is an estimated 170-seat majority and a win just shy of the 2001 and 1997 elections, when Tony Blair won 412 and 418 seats respectively.

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It predicts the Conservatives will be relegated to just 131 seats, down by more than 200 from 365 at the previous election, after a six-week catalogue of errors and self-inflicted damage. Their previous worst result at a general election was 156 seats in 1906.

Starmer will officially become the 58th person to lead Britain later in the day when he is formally invited to form government by the King at Buckingham Palace.

It is a personal triumph for him, having taken over the party’s leadership in 2020 after the party’s worst election defeat in almost a century. He will be just the seventh Labour prime minister in history and the fourth man to lead them from opposition into Downing Street.

The centre-left Liberal Democrats (61) and right-wing populist Reform UK (13) are also set to win seats in almost record numbers.

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage won his first seat in the House of Commons on his eighth attempt.

“There is a massive gap on the cent right of British politics and my job is to fill it and that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” Farage said after the result for Clacton-on-Sea was announced.

“My plan is to build a mass national movement over the course of the next few years and hopefully be big enough to challenge the general election properly in 2029.”

The electoral landscape is expected to be clear by around 4am (1pm AEST). All results should be declared by around 7am (UK time).

Starmer kisses his wife Victoria after speaking to supporters.

Starmer kisses his wife Victoria after speaking to supporters. Credit: AP

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps and Leader of the Commons Penny Mordaunt, who was once viewed as a future leader, are among senior Conservatives to lose their seats.

Liz Truss, former Tory prime minister, is locked in a tight race with Labour in her Norfolk seat.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, expelled from his own party after 41 years as an MP, pulled off a shock win in Islington North, where he ran as an independent. Beating Labour candidate Praful Nargund by 24,120 votes to 16,873, he said: “This result is to me a resounding message from the people of Islington that they want something different, they want something better.”

Ahead of casting his vote alongside his wife, Victoria, in his north London constituency of Holborn and St Pancras, Starmer acknowledged voters were upset about soaring costs, high interest rates, stagnant wages and overwhelmed public services.

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“To everyone who has campaigned for Labour in this election, to everyone who voted for us and put their trust in our changed Labour Party – thank you,” he posted on social media platform X shortly after the release of the exit poll.

Courtiers have cleared two slots in the King’s diary on Friday, with Sunak to be invited to Buckingham Palace first.

Starmer will arrive at the palace at midday, with his first official meeting with the King and his new prime minister known as the “kissing of hands”, although in practical terms it is more likely to feature a bow, if a man, or curtsy if a woman.

On arrival at the palace, the new prime minister will be greeted at the sovereign’s entrance by Sir Clive Alderton, the King’s private secretary, and Lieutenant Commander Will Thornton of the Fleet Air Arm, the King’s equerry.

Starmer is expected to then address the media outside Number 10 Downing Street, where he will move in with his family following the swift transfer of power.

with wires

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