UK election live news: Shapps and Chalk lose seats in Tory wipeout; Farage wins in Clacton; Starmer says it is time for Labour ‘to deliver’

Keir Starmer and Labour will form the next UK government after a sweeping victory in the general election. With a couple of dozen seats left to declare Labour have 408 seats, well above the 326 required for a majority

Speaking at Royal Festival Hall in London, Starmer said people would be waking up to the news of a Labour victory and Tory defeat “relieved that a weight has been lifted, a burden finally removed”. He told a rally that change “begins now” and promised an “age of national renewal” in which Labour would “start to rebuild our country” but he also acknowledged that change would not be easy

Rishi Sunak said he accepted responsibility for the Conservative government’s performance at the ballot box. The Tories are on course to record their worst ever electoral defeat

Liz Truss, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Alex Chalk, Gillian Keegan, Johnny Mercer, Penny Mordaunt and Grant Shapps were among senior figures to lose their seats on a tumultuous night. Home secretary James Cleverly retained Braintree, and took a swipe at Reform, criticising people who present “simple and thin solutions to challenging and complex problems”

Ed Davey’s Liberal Democrats are set to be the third biggest party in the House of Commons, with at least 68 seats in the new parliament. It is a huge increase for a party who performed dismally in 2019.

On a bad night for the SNP in Scotland the party so far has only won 8 MPs, losing 37 seats so far. Labour made significant gains in Scotland

The Green Party of England and Wales have achieved their ambition of four MPs, with victories in target seats in Bristol. Both co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay will be in parliament

Nigel Farage won in Clacton as Reform took four seats. Reform votes across the country have eaten into Conservative totals

Labour’s victory was not without hitches, however. Three seats fell to independents running on pro-Palestinian tickets, the party failed to prevent Jeremy Corbyn winning as an independent, and the selection fiasco in Chingford and Woodford Green saw the party’s candidate Shama Tatler and former candidate Faiza Shaheen just 79 votes apart having split the vote to allow Iain Duncan Smith to win

Sinn Féin will be the largest party in Northern Ireland for the first time

Plaid Cymru have won 4 seats in Westminster

George Galloway lost the Rochdale seat he won earlier this year in a byelection. He did not attend the announcement

You can find the results in full here

Jeremy Hunt and his family, including dog Poppy, have been pictured leaving Downing Street this morning. Hunt retained his seat by a narrow margin, and earlier in a message aimed at his children, said “This may seem like a tough day for our family as we move out of Downing Street, but it isn’t. We are incredibly lucky to live in a country where decisions like this are made not by bombs or bullets, but by thousands of ordinary citizens peacefully placing crosses in boxes and bits of paper.”

On social media Plaid Cymru has said it is “a very good morning in Wales”.

In a post, the party said “This was Plaid Cymru’s best ever result in a general election. Our 4 Plaid Cymru MPs will now work tirelessly to make sure Wales’ voice is not ignored by the incoming Labour government. Plaid Cymru is now the clear alternative to Labour in Wales. We’re ready to put forward a vision which more people than every can get behind at the Senedd election in 2026.”

In Wales, Labour took 27 of the 32 seats, with Plaid Cymru the second most successful party on four. The Liberal Democrats took the remaining seat.

The vote share in Wales was:

Labour 37% (27 MPs)

Conservatives 18.2% (no MPs)

Reform UK 16.9% (no MPs)

Plaid Cymru 14.8% (four MPs)

Liberal Democrats 6.5% (one MP)

Green Party of Wales 4.7% (no MPs)

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey has said his party’s first campaign will be to demand from Labour an emergency budget to address health and care issues.

PA Media reports he said:

Our first campaign, that starts today, is a campaign for an emergency budget this month for health and care. Every Liberal Democrat MP will be the voice for carers and we are going to make sure your voice is heard like never before.

It does look like, unlike when Rishi Sunak was calling the election six weeks ago, the media scrum in Downing Street today have remembered to bring umbrellas.

Labour MP Zarah Sultana has spoken about the impact of conflict in Gaza on the party in the election results. Sultana was re-elected in Coventry South, and said the party had “moved in the right direction” by calling for a ceasefire but said it had taken “a long time to get there”.

As my colleague Andrew Sparrow noted earlier, Dewsbury and Batley, Blackburn and Leicester South were all lost by Labour to independent candidates campaigning on a pro-Palestinian platform. Keir Starmer’s own personal vote was dented when Andrew Feinstein came second with more than 7,000 votes.

Sultana told listeners of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme “The party has clearly lost support in parts of the country because of its position on Gaza, and we see that in Coventry as well – we’ve heard concerns about the Labour party when it comes to Gaza and it’s no surprise.”

She said the public “overwhelmingly back a ceasefire”, adding:

On the one hand we’re saying we need to listen to voters, but when it comes to this particular issue there was a hope that this problem would just go away and it hasn’t.

The party has to seriously recognise and acknowledge the issue, which is not just with British Muslim communities, it’s across communities, but it definitely is a serious issue, as well the Islamophobia that people experience – which also exists within the Labour party.

With five seats left to declare the current tally for the four largest parties in the new House of Commons are Labour on 411 MPs, Conservatives on 119, Liberal Democrats with 71 and SNP on 9.

The five constituencies yet to declare (I believe) are:

Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

Dumfries and Galloway

Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire

Poole

South Basildon and East Thurrock

Richard Adams is the Guardian’s education editor

Analysis by the Sutton Trust suggests that Keir Starmer’s cabinet will have the highest number of ministers educated at comprehensive schools, and the lowest proportion in modern history who went to private schools.

Based on Labour’s shadow cabinet, 84% went to comprehensive schools, 10% went to private schools and 6% to state grammar schools.

That would mean for the first time the cabinet closely reflected British society, with more than 90% of ministers having attended state schools. That comes as one of Labour’s key policies is to add Vat to private school fees.

Since 2010 about 60% of cabinet ministers attended private schools, apart from Theresa May’s cabinet where the proportion dipped to 30%. According to the Sutton Trust, the previous low was Clement Attlee’s 1945 cabinet, with 25% privately educated.

The Liberal Democrats are holding a celebratory event at their HQ, where leader Ed Davey has promised voters they would not be let down.

He said “I want to thank you for trusting us again. We will not let you down. Trust is a very precious commodity.”

He thanked supporters for getting the best result “in over 100 years”

In keeping with the manner of his campaigning, Davey joked “I didn’t even have to paraglide in.”

He told the media he thought people had really enjoyed his stunts, and earlier, speaking on the BBC, had underlined that they had helped the party push its message. He told viewers:

What was key for me was to show that you know, we can have some fun. You don’t have to take yourself too seriously, as long as you take the voters concern seriously.

Every time we did a stunt, we had a message. Falling off a paddleboard was about sewage. When I came down that slide with kids and their families enjoying the half-term, we were talking about the mental health crisis for children young people.

In a message posted to social media Ukraine’s president Volodymy Zelenskiy has congratulated Keir Starmer on his election win and thanked Rishi Sunak for his support.

The president wrote:

Congratulations to Keir Starmer and Laboour on their convincing election victory. Ukraine and the United Kingdom have been and will continue to be reliable allies through thick and thin. We will continue to defend and advance our common values of life, freedom, and a rules-based international order

I wish the incoming government every success both in domestic affairs and in solidifying the UK’s leadership on the world stage. I look forward to working closely together on strengthening the Ukraine-UK partnership and restoring international peace and security.

He continued:

I am grateful to my good friend Rishi Sunak for the UK government’s steadfast support under his leadership. Challenger tanks, Storm Shadow missiles, F-16 training for our pilots, and the first bilateral security cooperation agreement are just a few of our shared achievements that Ukraine will never forget. Thank you, Rishi.

In February 2023, while leader of the opposition, Starmer visited Kyiv, and said he told Ukraine’s president “should there be a change of government when we have a general election here, the support for Ukraine will remain the same. It’s a very important message for me to be able to relay to the president face-to-face, and I’ve been able to do that this afternoon.”

Labour’s national campaign chief Pat McFadden has said he expects Keir Starmer to have appointed the whole cabinet by the end of today.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

Keir Starmer will get on with appointing his Cabinet, which we expect to be done by the end of today. Certainly the whole Cabinet. That Cabinet will meet tomorrow. And he will have to quickly allocate those responsibilities, give his new Cabinet their marching orders and then there’s big international events coming.

We have a Nato summit next week. That will be his first moment on the international stage. And while he’s doing that, he will want his new Cabinet to get on with it pretty quickly.

Starmer is expected to meet King Charles before lunch, and to make an address to the nation as prime minister at about 12.20pm from Downing Street.

One seat we won’t be getting the result of any time soon is South Basildon & East Thurrock. There will be a complete recount starting from 2pm.

Thurrock Nub News reports that:

After a delayed first count, the Reform candidate James McMurdock appeared to have won the seat with around 12,000 votes from Labour’s Jack Ferguson, with Tory Stephen Metcalfe around 1,000 votes behind.

Initially candidates were told Reform had won by a margin of 127 votes, which prompted Labour to demand a recount and an initial check found botched counting procedures.

The saga over the count dragged on until around 6am when Thurrock Council CEO and returning officer Dave Smith said he had told counting staff to go home and a full recount would have to take place.

Metcalfe was the MP for the constituency in the 2019 election and was defending a majority of nearly 20,000 votes.

There are literally just a handful of seats left to declare. Gregory Campbell has just retained the East Londonderry constituency in County Derry for the DUP in a very tightly fought contest. Sinn Féin’s Kathleen McGurk was second but just 179 votes behind. Campbell has held the seat for 23 years.

As well as Rishi Sunak visiting the palace to formally resign, which is expected at 10.30am, and a first national address from Keir Starmer, expected at about 12.20pm, we are also expecting to hear from Labour leader in Scotland Anas Sarwar, and SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister John Swinney. Both of those are – somewhat irritatingly if you are trying to cover them – scheduled for 10am.

Mel Stride was virtually ever present on the media rounds during the campaign, and has been wheeled out by the Conservative party again this morning.

PA Media reports the outgoing work and pensions secretary, who held on to his Central Devon by a margin of just 61 votes, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

I think the message from the electorate is extremely stark, this is a devastating defeat and it will take quite a lot of time now to do the thinking, to get ourselves back into a position where we can rebuild and become once again the natural party of government – and that is going to take a bit of time.

He said “Clearly, at some point, there will need to be a new leader of the Conservative party,” and advised colleagues to “avoid too much friction, sound and fury” and instead “focus on rebuilding”.

Outgoing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to make a statement at about 10.30am, Downing Street has said.

PA Media reports he will then travel to Buckingham Palace for an audience with the King, where he is expected to formally tender his resignation.

Then Keir Starmer will see the King at the palace. He will be appointed as the country’s next prime minister and asked to form an administration.

He will then be driven to Downing Street to address the nation for the first time as prime minister at around 12.20pm.

Timings are subject to change, No 10 noted.

Ian Paisley Jr has lost his seat in North Antrim. The DUP stalwart was replaced by Jim Allister, a candidate from the TUV, an even more pro-unionist party backed by Reform UK. The seat had been held by a Paisley since 1970.

Speaking after his defeat, Paisley Jr said:

The tides of life ebb and flow, as we all know. This is certainly not the script that I would have written for tonight, as I think most of you would accept. But life is made up of many chapters and I embrace this chapter as happily as I embraced the previous.

I congratulate my successor. I commend all of those who took part in this race, the race to the finish, and I wish them well. Being a member of parliament is a huge privilege. It’s been a huge privilege for me, over 14 years as a member of parliament and the previous 13 years in the Northern Ireland assembly, to serve my constituency. I greatly appreciate the support that they have given me. Thank you.

The distribution of seats in Northern Ireland will see Sinn Féin as the largest party. It has seven seats. The DUP has five, SDLP two, the Alliance, UUP and TUV have one each. Independent Alex Easton won North Down from Alliance.

Green party of England and Wales co-leader Carla Denyer has been appearing on the Today programme. She told listeners:

It feels wonderful to have this vote of confidence from the people of Bristol Central and all over the country. We had a target in this election of going from one MP to four MPs, quadrupling our representation in the House of Commons. And we’ve achieved that.

She promised that their presence “will push [Labour] to be braver on the areas where we don’t think they’re going far enough. For example, in housing.”

Frances Ryan is one of the people on our panel who have just delivered their verdict on the night’s events. She wrote:

At its heart, this election was less about welcoming Labour in than getting the Tories out. From austerity to Brexit to Partygate, voters have lived through an unprecedented era of cruelty, chaos and corruption. If a week is a long time in politics, 14 years of Conservative misrule has practically been a life sentence.

Many don’t believe anything will change with a Labour government, let alone soon. In the coming months, Starmer must show it can. For now, it is enough to sit and savour what has ended. To draw a line under the worst of governments and remember the millions of lives made poorer, sicker, more afraid.

Today is for Windrush, disability benefit deaths and Grenfell. It is for food banks, “go home” vans and the rape clause. For PPE contracts, cancer patients and Rwanda flights. Goodbye to the vandals of Britain. How fitting they destroyed themselves in the end.

You can read more from Frances Ryan, alongside Katy Balls and Chris Skidmore, here: How will Labour change Britain – and what next for the shattered Conservatives? Our panel’s verdict

Our video team have pulled out the clip of the moment that former prime minister Liz Truss lost her seat in South West Norfolk to Labour.

 

Updated: Juli 5, 2024 — 2:53 am

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