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UK Election: What’s Happened and What Comes Next?

In a dramatic turn of events, Sir Keir Starmer has become the UK’s new Prime Minister following a landslide victory by the Labour Party in the general election. The Conservative Party, which has governed the country for the past 14 years under five different Prime Ministers, faced a staggering defeat.

Outgoing PM Rishi Sunak took responsibility for the loss, apologizing to his colleagues during a brief statement outside a rainy 10 Downing Street. He announced his intention to resign as party leader in the coming weeks.

In his victory speech, Sir Keir Starmer promised “national renewal” and pledged to prioritize the country over the party. “We have earned the mandate to relight the fire,” he told jubilant Labour activists in London. “Our task is nothing less than renewing the ideas that hold this country together.”

A Huge Labour Victory

Labour’s triumph is reflected in their impressive gain of 412 seats in the House of Commons, while the Conservatives managed only 120. The centrist Liberal Democrats secured 71 seats, with the left-wing Green Party and Reform UK each winning four seats. Labour’s success was partly due to the downfall of the Scottish National Party (SNP), which, amid financial controversies, fell to just nine seats.

Labour’s projected 170-seat majority is substantial, though it falls short of the 179-seat majority achieved under Tony Blair in 1997. For comparison, the Conservative Party’s victory in the 2019 election, led by Boris Johnson, resulted in an 80-seat majority.

Jacob Reese Mogg lost his seat
Jacob Reese Mogg lost his seat

Notable Defeats and Surviving Politicians

The election night was marked by significant defeats for several high-profile Conservative politicians. Former Prime Minister Liz Truss lost her South West Norfolk seat, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, a prominent Brexiteer, lost his East Somerset and Hanham seat. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, and Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer were also among the casualties. However, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak retained their seats, though with reduced majorities.

Labour also faced notable losses, including Jonathan Ashworth and Thangam Debbonaire, both anticipated members of Starmer’s incoming cabinet.

A Swift Transition

In British politics, the transition from election results to the installation of a new Prime Minister happens quickly. Rishi Sunak moved out of 10 Downing Street on Friday morning, and Sir Keir Starmer was swiftly invited by the King to form the new government. Following the formalities, Starmer will address the nation from the steps of Number 10 and begin appointing his new cabinet.

Sunak, in his resignation speech, extended his well wishes to Starmer, acknowledging the importance of collective success for the nation.

Who is Keir Starmer?

Keir Starmer’s journey to the Prime Minister’s office began in the legal field. Starting as a barrister in the 1990s, he became the director of public prosecutions in 2008. He was elected as the MP for Holborn and St Pancras in 2015 and took over Labour leadership after their 2019 electoral defeat. In his victory speech, Starmer emphasized the public’s desire for change and his commitment to ending the “politics of performance.”

Nigel Farage Finally Becomes an MP

Nigel Farage, leading Reform UK, secured a seat on his eighth attempt. Despite the party’s initial projection of 13 seats dwindling to four, it still marks a better performance than its predecessors, UKIP and the Brexit Party. Farage is joined in Parliament by Lee Anderson, Richard Tice, and Rupert Lowe, potentially posing a challenge to the remaining Conservative base.

As the UK adjusts to this significant political shift, the next steps for both Labour and the Conservatives will be crucial in shaping the country’s future.

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