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Labour Party Resounding Win Ends 14-Year Conservative Rule In Britain

Labour Party Resounding Win Ends 14-Year Conservative Rule In Britain

Keir Starmer is set to become Britain’s next prime minister, with his centre-left Labour Party anticipated to secure a substantial majority in the parliamentary election, marking the end of 14 years of often turbulent Conservative governance by overwhelmingly defeating Rishi Sunak’s party.

Although many results from Thursday’s vote are still pending, Labour Party has already won over 326 out of 650 parliamentary seats, with exit polls indicating they could capture around 410.

Read more: UK General Election Of 2024 Is Underway With Polling Now In Progress

In a devastating night for Sunak, the Conservatives have so far only secured 70 seats and are predicted to endure the worst performance in their history, as voters penalize them for the cost of living crisis, failing public services, and multiple scandals.

“Tonight, people here and across the country have spoken and they want change, to end performative politics, and return to politics as a public service,” Starmer stated after winning his seat in London.

“The change begins right here … You have voted. It is now time for us to deliver.”

Sunak conceded defeat and mentioned that he had called Starmer to congratulate him on his victory.

“Today, power will transition peacefully and orderly, with goodwill on all sides,” he said after reclaiming his seat. “There is much to learn and reflect on, and I take responsibility for the loss to the many hardworking Conservative candidates … I am sorry.”

Despite his decisive victory, polls suggest limited enthusiasm for Starmer or his party, and he assumes office at a time when the country is facing numerous daunting challenges.

Britain’s tax burden is projected to reach its highest since just after World War Two, net debt is nearly equal to annual economic output, living standards have declined, and public services are struggling, especially the much-admired National Health Service, which has been plagued by strikes.

Starmer has already had to downscale some of Labour Party more ambitious plans, such as its flagship green spending commitments, and has promised not to raise taxes for “working people.”

Significant damage to Conservative support was caused by the right-wing populist Reform UK Labour party, led by Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, who campaigned heavily on curbing immigration.

Starmer has pledged to scrap the Conservative’s controversial policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda but will face pressure to find a solution to stop tens of thousands of people arriving across the Channel on small boats.

Within the Conservative party, immediate recriminations and debates over its future direction began, with some attributing their failure to abandoning the centre ground while others argued Reform had won over voters who felt the party had deserted its roots.

Reform secured four seats, with Farage finally being elected to parliament on his eighth attempt, and garnered more votes than the Conservatives across many parts of the country.

“There is a massive gap on the centre-right of British politics, and my job is to fill it, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” a triumphant Farage declared. “Believe me, folks, this is just the first step of something that is going to stun all of you.”

Populist Option

The rise in support for a populist alternative mirrored recent trends in Europe, where the far right has been gaining momentum.

However, unlike in France where Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party achieved historic gains in last Sunday’s election, the British public has opted for a centre-left party to drive change.

Starmer has pledged to improve relations with the European Union to address Brexit-related issues, despite the success of far-right politicians. Nonetheless, rejoining the European Union is not on the agenda, even though he opposed Brexit.

He might also have to collaborate with Donald Trump if he wins the upcoming presidential election in the United States, but Starmer has committed to maintaining London’s unwavering support for Ukraine.

This election victory would mark a remarkable turnaround for Starmer and Labour, which was perceived to be in an existential crisis just three years ago following their severe defeat in 2019.

A series of Conservative scandals, particularly the revelations about parties in Downing Street during COVID lockdowns, damaged then-prime minister Boris Johnson and eroded their strong poll leads.

Liz Truss’ disastrous six-week premiership, which followed Johnson’s ousting at the end of 2022, further cemented the decline, and Sunak was unable to make any headway against Labour’s dominant poll lead.

Sunak shocked Westminster and many within his party by calling an early election in May, with the Conservatives trailing Labour by about 20 points in opinion polls, and his campaign subsequently faltered.

“We deserved to lose. The Conservative Party seems exhausted and out of ideas,” Ed Costello, chairman of the Grassroots Conservatives organization, which represents rank-and-file members, told Reuters.

“But it is not entirely Rishi Sunak’s fault. Boris Johnson and Liz Truss led the party to disaster. Rishi Sunak is just the scapegoat.”