Keir Starmer is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, following a landslide victory for his Labour Party in a general election on Thursday that ended fourteen years of government by the Conservatives.

The Labour Party won 411 seats out of the 650 on offer, giving the party a comfortable majority in Westminster.

The Conservative Party (or Tories) saw their seats plummet to 121, the party’s worst-ever performance. A number of prominent Tories, such as Penny Mordaunt, former Prime Minister Liz Truss, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, lost their seats.

The Liberal Democrats secured their best-ever performance with 72 seats.

The Scottish National Party (SNP), however, did poorly, winning only nine seats, having held nearly 60 after the previous election.

Meanwhile Nigel Farage was finally elected to Parliament, on his eighth attempt, winning a seat in Clacton in England’s south-east on the ticket of the Reform UK party. He will be joined by four other Reform UK MPs.

The Green Party, like the Lib-Dems, also had its best-ever night, with its number of MPs going from one to four.

Five independents beat Labour candidates in seats with a large proportion of Muslim voters. These independents had stood in protest against Labour’s stance on the Gaza conflict, which some people perceive as too friendly to Israel. Starmer’s predecessor as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was one of those, winning his seat in North London with nearly 50% of the vote.

While Labour won a very big majority, analysts warned that Britain’s first-past-the-post system obscured some political trends. The election was the most disproportionate in British history, with Labour winning over 60% of the seats with only 34% of the vote, with one journalist, Fraser Nelson, calling the win a “Potemkin landslide”. In addition, the combined vote share for Labour and the Tories was at a record low, showing that the UK could start following the rest of the Europe. In many countries on the continent the traditional parties of the centre-left and centre-right no longer dominate politics as they did in the past.

Turnout in Thursday’s election was low at only about 60%.

In his victory speech, Starmer thanked his predecessor, Rishi Sunak, and said his achievement in being the first Asian British Prime Minister should not be underestimated. However, he said it was clear that the country had voted for change and that “our work is urgent”.

Image: Chris McAndrew, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


author