Sir Keir Starmer Is The UK's New Prime Minister

Sir Keir Starmer Is The UK's New Prime Minister

July 6, 2024, 7:53 a.m.

Sir Keir Starmer is the UK's new prime minister, after his Labour Party swept to power in a landslide general election victory.

The Conservative Party suffered a huge collapse after a tumultuous 14 years in power, which saw five different prime ministers run the country.

Rishi Sunak - the outgoing PM - accepted responsibility for the result and apologised to defeated colleagues during a brief statement outside a rainy 10 Downing Street. He said he would resign as party leader in the coming weeks.

In his first speech as prime minister after greeting dozens of jubilant Labour supporters who had lined Downing Street, Sir Keir vowed to kick start a period of "national renewal" and to put "country first, party second".

"For too long we've turned a blind eye as millions slid into greater insecurity," he said. "I want to say very clearly to those people. Not this time."

"Changing a country is not like flicking a switch. The world is now a more volatile place. This will take a while, but have no doubt the work of change will begin immediately."

The result marks a stunning reversal from the 2019 election when Labour, led by the veteran left-wing politician Jeremy Corbyn, suffered its worst electoral defeat in almost a century.

On the other side, Robert Buckland, a former Conservative minister who lost his seat, described it as "electoral Armageddon" for the Tories.

It is the party's worst result in almost 200 years, with an ideological battle over its future direction expected to commence in the coming weeks.

It's been a long night of results. Here's what it all means.

A huge Labour victory

Britain's House of Commons has 650 MPs, or members of parliament. Each of their "seats" represents an individual constituency - or area – somewhere in the country.

So far Labour has won 412 seats, while the Conservatives have slumped to just 120 and centrist Liberal Democrats have taken 71. Reform UK, a successor to the Brexit Party, is set to pick up four seats, as are the left-wing Green Party.

Labour's surge was partly aided by the collapse of the Scottish National Party (SNP). The party has been hit by a succession of controversies around its finances and fell to just nine seats overnight.

The expected 170-seat majority in the House of Commons for Labour is an enormous number but still short of the majority of 179 won by the party under Tony Blair in the 1997 election.

But for more perspective, the Conservatives' win in the 2019 election under Boris Johnson - seen as a very strong performance - saw them get a majority of 80 seats.

A reminder: If a party holds a majority, it means it doesn't need to rely on other parties to pass laws. The bigger the majority, the easier it is.

There were, however, a number of notable defeats for Labour to independent candidates campaigning on pro-Gaza tickets - especially in areas with large Muslim populations.

Labour has faced growing pressure over its stance to the conflict. In February, the party called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire but critics said it was too slow to reach that position.

Centre-left parties in other Western countries were keeping a keen eye on the trend ahead of the poll, amid fear of a growing backlash from their own voters over their support for Israel.

Big names fall one by one (but some survive)

As constituencies have declared their results live on television - with all candidates lined up next to each other on stage - there have been some major moments.

Perhaps the most notable was the defeat of Liz Truss. The former prime minister served just 49 days in Number 10 before being ousted by her party. She narrowly lost to Labour in the constituency of South West Norfolk, having previously held a huge 24,180 majority.

BBC

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