• Thursday, July 25, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Labour to win massive election majority, exit poll shows

Keir Starmer walks with his wife Victoria Starmer, as they arrive at a polling station to place their votes in the 2024 General Election on July 04, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

By: Sarwar Alam

The Labour party looks set for a landslide election win, exit polls indicated on Thursday (4), ending 14 years of Conservative rule marked by financial austerity, Brexit division and scandal.

As polling stations closed at 10:00 pm, the survey for UK broadcasters suggested Labour would win 410 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons, with the Tories managing only 131.

In another boost for the centrists, the Liberal Democrats would get 61 seats, and Nigel Farage’s anti-immigration Reform UK could secure 13.

Counting of ballots was under way across the country, with official results expected from late Thursday into Friday, putting Labour leader Keir Starmer on course to replace Rishi Sunak as prime minister.

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Rishi Sunak leaving 10 Downing Street. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)

The result, if confirmed, bucks a rightward trend among Britain’s closest allies, with the far-right National Rally in France eyeing power and Donald Trump looking set for a return in the United States.

Under Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system, a party needs 326 seats to win an overall majority in parliament.

After a sleepless night of counting and declarations, the winner is expected to meet head of state King Charles, who will ask the leader of the largest party to form a government.

Ministerial appointments are expected to follow soon after an acceptance speech to a mass of assembled media in Downing Street.

Confirmation of the result would cap a remarkable rise to power for Starmer, 61, who was first elected as a member of parliament in 2015.

The former human rights lawyer and chief public prosecutor was elected Labour leader in early 2020, succeeding the veteran leftist Jeremy Corbyn, who lost by a landslide to Boris Johnson in 2019.

Since then, he has dragged the party back to the centre ground, making it a more electable proposition and purging ideological infighting and anti-Semitism that lost it support.

Opinion polls have given Labour a consistent 20-point lead over the Tories for almost the past two years, which a largely lacklustre election campaign has failed to change.

That has given an air of inevitability about a Labour win, and high expectations that the party can fulfil its promise to change the country’s flagging fortunes for the better.

Starmer – the working-class son of a toolmaker and a nurse – has promised “a decade of national renewal”.

But his to-do list is daunting, with economic growth anaemic, public services overstretched and underfunded after nearly a decade-and-a-half of cuts, and households squeezed financially.

The Labour leader has also promised a return of political integrity, after a chaotic period of five Tory prime ministers, including three in four months.

His first days in office are set to be packed, representing Britain at the NATO conference in Washington next week, then hosting European leaders later this month at a summit in southern England.

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