Former UK PM Liz Truss among big-name Tory losses amidst landslide win for Labour Party

The result in South West Norfolk is likely to become an emblem of what looks set to be the Tories' worst-ever election result.
UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss
UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss (Photo| Facebook)

LONDON: Former British prime minister Liz Truss and several Cabinet colleagues of outgoing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Conservative Party on Friday lost their seats as the Opposition Labour Party was swept to power after more than a decade.

Truss, whose turbulent 45-day period in power has been blamed by many Conservatives for Thursday's historic defeat, lost her South West Norfolk constituency to Labour candidate, Terry Jermy, by 630 votes, having previously held a huge 24,180 majority, the BBC reported.

The result in South West Norfolk is likely to become an emblem of what looks set to be the Tories' worst-ever election result, with the exit poll predicting they will win just 131 seats nationwide.

A jaded electorate handed the party a landslide victory but also a mammoth task of reinvigorating a stagnant economy and dispirited nation.

Labour leader Keir Starmer will officially become prime minister later in the day, leading his party back to government less than five years after it suffered its worst defeat in almost a century. He will take charge in 10 Downing St. hours after Thursday's votes are counted - as Conservative leader Sunak is hustled out.

The Labour Party is estimated to have a majority of around 160 seats in the House of Commons.

Sunak, the country's first British Indian-origin prime minister, comfortably held on to his own Richmond and Northallerton seat in northern England with 23,059 votes but failed to turn things around for his party at a national level after 14 years in government.

Commons leader Penny Mordaunt and former minister Jacob Rees-Mogg are among other senior Tories to have lost their seats. Mordaunt, who was tipped as a future Tory leadership contender, saw her majority of more than 15,000 overturned in Portsmouth North.

Rees-Mogg, a former business secretary, lost in North East Somerset and Hanham, with Labour overturning his 16,000 majority. He told the BBC he would not "blame anybody other than myself" and that it had been "a very bad night for the Conservatives".

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk and Michelle Donelan are among a clutch of cabinet ministers to lose their seats. However, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who had been seen as vulnerable in his Godalming and Ash constituency, managed to hold on with a slender 891 majority.

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The Conservatives lost a string of seats in southern England to the Liberal Democrats, who have won over 60 seats and are set for their best result in a century. They have also seen their vote squeezed by Nigel Farage's Reform UK, which has won 14 per cent of the vote.

Unlike the last election in 2019, when the Brexit Party stood aside in more than 300 Tory-held seats, Reform's decision to field candidates across Britain contributed to heavy Tory losses, particularly in Brexit-voting areas. Conceding the election, Sunak called the results a "sobering verdict for his party.

Speaking after losing her seat, Mordaunt said her party had "taken a battering because it failed to honour the trust that people had placed in it". She warned against "talking to an ever smaller slice of ourselves", adding, "if we want again to be the natural party of government, then our values must be the people's".

Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer also lost to Labour in Plymouth Moor View. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan lost to the Liberal Democrats in Chichester, a West Sussex seat the Tories have held for a century.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer lost Ely and East Cambridgeshire to the Liberal Democrats. Chief Whip Simon Hart - in charge of party discipline - lost to Plaid Cymru in Caerfyrddin, as the Tories lost all their seats in Wales. Former justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland, who also lost his seat, told the BBC his party faced "electoral Armageddon".

He said too many Conservatives had focused on "personal agendas and jockeying for position" instead of "concentrating on doing the job that they were elected to do". \

"I've watched colleagues strike poses, write inflammatory op-eds, and say stupid things they have no evidence for, instead of concentrating on doing the job that they were elected to do," the former justice secretary said.

Asked whether he was referring to former home secretary Suella Braverman, who days before polls opened published an article in the Daily Telegraph strongly criticising the government, he said: "Yes, and I'm afraid that's not an isolated example.”

"I'm fed up of personal agendas and jockeying for position. The truth is now with the Conservatives facing electoral Armageddon, it's going to be like a group of bald men arguing over a comb. Robert said for the party to move further to the right would be a "disastrous mistake" that "would send us into the abyss".

Former cabinet office minister Steve Baker, who BBC projections gave less than a 1 per cent chance of holding onto his seat, said his party was having an incredibly difficult night.

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He said Sunak had a "brilliant mind" but acknowledged he had made mistakes during the campaign, including the decision to leave D-Day commemorations early. Shapps in his concession speech hit out at the Conservative indulgence that appears to have cost them the election, saying voters do not back divided parties.

Shapps, 55, held five Cabinet positions since then from the roles of transport secretary and home secretary to energy security secretary as well as business secretary, and most recently defence secretary.

After a short-lived Tory leadership bid in 2022, Shapps became a major backer of Liz Truss's rival Sunak in that contest. Shapps, who lost to Labour in Welwyn Hatfield, said it was clear tonight that Britain will have a new government in the morning''.

What is crystal clear to me tonight, is that it is not so much that Labour won this election, but that the Conservatives have lost it," he added.

Door after door, voters have been dismayed by our inability to iron out our differences in private and then be united in public," Shapps added.

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