What happened in the UK general election?

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Labour has won a historic landslide victory in the UK general election, returning to government after 14 years in opposition.

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, who will become prime minister later on Friday, told supporters in London that “change begins right here . . . You have voted. It is now time for us to deliver.”

How big is Labour’s majority?

As of 6.40am on Friday, Labour has won 400 seats and is on course to secure a House of Commons majority of roughly 180 — similar in scale to the 179-seat majority won by Tony Blair in the 1997 election.

The Conservative party becomes the official opposition, having won 107 seats by the same time. It is headed for its worst ever general election performance.

The centrist Liberal Democrats have secured 66 seats, while populist Reform UK party has four MPs, including arch-Brexiter Nigel Farage.

The Scottish National party, long the dominant political force in Scotland, has won seven seats, down 38 from the last election, and the Green party has won four seats.

Which MPs lost their seats?

High-profile Conservatives who will not return to parliament this month include Commons leader Penny Mordaunt, defence secretary Grant Shapps and education secretary Gillian Keegan.

Mordaunt, who stood for the Tory leadership in 2022 and had been tipped as a future contender, lost in her bid to remain MP for Portsmouth North.

Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield since 2005, was pushed into second place by Labour, while Keegan was eclipsed by the Lib Dems in Chichester.

Other Conservatives ejected include justice secretary Alex Chalk, transport secretary Mark Harper, culture secretary Lucy Frazer and former cabinet ministers Thérèse Coffey, Sir Robert Buckland and Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Some prominent Labour figures also fell short. Shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth lost out to a pro-Palestinian independent in Leicester South, while shadow culture secretary Thangam Debbonaire was defeated by the Green party in Bristol Central.

How has the election result redrawn the UK political map?

The Conservatives lost swaths of the “blue wall” of traditional Tory-voting seats in the south of England to the Liberal Democrats, which heavily targeted that part of the country during the six-week campaign.

Labour reclaimed chunks of the “red wall” of working-class seats in the north of England that it lost to the Tories in the 2019 election.

Starmer’s party also won back large parts of Scotland, where it had been the main political force before being eclipsed by the SNP.

What was the turnout?

About 59 per cent of eligible UK voters cast a ballot, according to provisional figures published by the PA news agency.

The figure is a near-record low, pointing to the depth of the challenge facing Starmer in restoring voter confidence in the political system.

In the 2019 election turnout was 67.3 per cent, down from 68.8 per cent in 2017, according to the House of Commons library.

This general election was the first in which voters had to present a form of ID in order to take part, in line with a law change passed by the government in April 2022.

What happens next?

Rishi Sunak, who said he had called Starmer to congratulate him, is expected to quit as Conservative party leader, triggering a contest to replace him.

Sunak is expected to tender his resignation as prime minister in an audience with King Charles at Buckingham Palace on Friday. The king will then receive Starmer, who will ask his permission to form a new government.

After this procedural requirement, Starmer will arrive in Downing Street and give a speech to the nation before meeting the staff of Number 10. He is expected to announce his cabinet on Friday afternoon.

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