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UK general election 2024 results: Five key takeaways | Elections News

UK general election 2024 results: Five key takeaways | Elections News

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Britons have handed Keir Starmer’s Labour Party nearly two-thirds of the seats in the UK Parliament’s 650-seat House of Commons in what has been described as an “historic” general election following 14 years of rule by the Conservative Party.

Here are some key takeaways from the results of Thursday’s election.

1. A Tory wipe-out

The Conservative Party, led by former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, was subjected to its worst loss in history.

The party has lost 250 seats since the last general election in 2019, having won a total of 121 seats this year. Eleven Conservative cabinet ministers were unseated this election.

The Conservative vote share plunged by 20 percentage points since 2019 to just 24 percent, as supporters switched in their droves to Reform UK, the far-right party led by Nigel Farage.

Prominent Tories who lost their seats include former Prime Minister Liz Truss, Commons leader Penny Mordaunt and former cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg.

2. Reform fever takes hold, propelling Farage to Parliament

Farage’s far-right Reform UK party made inroads.

It won four seats, no small achievement for a start-up party, and was supported by 14 percent of voters overall. This is  a rise of 12.3 percentage points since the last election, when it was known as the Brexit Party.

The party also drew support in some seats it did not win, securing second place in Dover and Deal, and third in Folkestone and Hythe, Tunbridge Wells, Dartford and Sevenoaks among others.

The rise of the anti-immigration far right group is of great concern to ethnic minority Britons and marginalised communities. Several Reform candidates were suspended ahead of the election because they were found to have made racist comments online.

Meanwhile, the election is a dream come true for Farage, who’s finally heading to the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament to on his eighth attempt.

His constituency, Clacton-on-Sea, removed the Conservative incumbent Giles Watling who had held the seat since 2017 by a considerable margin. Farage won 21,225 votes against Watling’s 12,820.

The chairman of Reform UK, Richard Tice, won Boston and Skegness in Lincolnshire and Rupert Lowe, former chairman of Southampton football club, took Great Yarmouth from the Conservative Party, which had held the constituency for the whole 14 years of the party’s time in government.

No one can doubt Labour’s victory, in terms of the number of seats it seized. It made landmark inroads, such as the party’s Tony Vaughan taking Folkestone and Hythe which the Tories had held since 1950. Cities of London and Westminster changed hands to Labour for the first time.

But the centre-left party’s overall share of the vote rose by less than 2 percentage points.

Despite taking 64 percent of the seats, the party only won 34 percent of the actual vote.

In 2019, when the party was led by Jeremy Corbyn, whose low popularity was blamed for Labour’s losses, vote share was only slightly lower – at 32 percent.

Thursday’s vote was marred by low turnout. Sixty percent of voters cast a vote, a fall from the 67 percent in 2019. This is the second-lowest voter turnout, which usually exceeds 65 percent, for a general election since 1885.

“In many ways, this looks more like an election the Conservatives have lost than one Labour has won,” wrote John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, for the BBC.

4. Pro-Palestine independents challenge the system. Five win, but Galloway falls

Five pro-Palestine independents won seats as Israel’s war on Gaza emerged as a key issue for the UK’s voters.

Corbyn held his Islington North seat as an independent candidate. Shockat Adam in Leicester South, Ayoub Khan in Birmingham Perry Barr, Adnan Hussain in Blackburn and Iqbal Mohamed in Dewsbury and Batley all won seats.

“This is for the people of Gaza,” Adam said after he was announced as the winner.

These contenders all defeated Labour incumbents.

Neither the Conservative nor Labour have called for an immediate ceasefire. They both back what they call Israel’s “right to self-defence”, causing discontent among pro-Palestine and Muslim voters.

On the other hand, the leader of the left-wing Workers Party of Britain, George Galloway, lost the Rochdale seat that he won in a by-election in February by campaigning against the Gaza war. He was unseated by Labour’s Paul Waugh.

5. Lib Dems stage a comeback

Ed Davey’s Liberal Democrat party, which is left of centre, won 71 seats – a massive 63 more than in 2019.

Since 2010, when the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition with the Conservative Party in order to enable the Tories to form a government, having not won a majority of seats, the popularity of the Lib Dems has declined. This year, however, voters seem to have returned to support them.

The party won some critical seats, including Chichester, which was previously held by Conservative Education Secretary Gillian Keegan. Lib Dem member Jess Brown-Fuller won the seat with a majority of 12,146.

The party also won the Lewes seat in a notional gain from the Conservatives after boundary changes. James MacCleary won with 50.6 percent of the votes, taking the seat from former Conservative health minister Maria Caulfield who won just 26.8 percent.

All eyes are now on Starmer, but also the opposition. The Conservatives are not used to being in the shadows and they now have some new opponents to deal with.

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