UK election: Keir Starmer's Labour Party eyes landslide win, Rishi Sunak concedes defeat

The Labour Party won 326 of the 650 seats by 5 am Friday as counting continued.
Britain's Labour Party leader Keir Starmer gives a thumbs up to his supporters after he was elected for the Holborn and St Pancras constituency, in London, Friday, July 5, 2024.
Britain's Labour Party leader Keir Starmer gives a thumbs up to his supporters after he was elected for the Holborn and St Pancras constituency, in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. Photo | AP

LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak conceded defeat on Friday as his Conservative Party was on course for one of its worst election defeats and the Keir Starmer-led Labour Party hurtled towards a landslide victory in the historic UK election.

Official results showed the Labour Party has won enough seats to have a majority in the UK Parliament and will form the next government.

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

The party had won 326 of the 650 seats by 5 am Friday as counting continued.

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.

A sombre-looking Sunak was joined by his wife Akshata Murty as his future as a member of Parliament was decided and he chose to use his acceptance speech to also admit his party's defeat in winning another term in government.

"The Labour Party has won this general election and I have called Sir Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory," said Sunak, acknowledging the “sobering verdict” handed to his party.

"Today power will change hands in a peaceful and orderly manner with goodwill on all sides and it is something that should give us all confidence in our country's stability and future," he said.

There is much to learn and reflect, he said.

Taking responsibility for the defeat he told voters: "I am sorry".

With some of the most prominent ministers and MPs such as Grant Shapps and Penny Mordaunt losing the election, the results are being dubbed a “bloodbath” for the Conservatives.

In contrast, Labour's Starmer stands poised to take charge at 10 Downing Street as Britain's new Prime Minister after he also comfortably won his own seat of Holborn and St.Pancras in London.

"The change begins right here. Because this is your democracy, your community and your future. You have voted. It is now time for us to deliver," said Starmer in his own acceptance speech as he was mobbed by his celebrating supporters.

While the customary election night exit poll forecast 410 seats for the Opposition party, the outlook as the trends and results tally takes shape is pegging it around 405 seats with the Tories down to 154.

The Liberal Democrats are also among the big winners of this election, set to bag around 56 members of Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Scottish National Party (SNP) which fought on an independence to Scotland ticket are losing seats to Labour.

However, a major trend that will dominate the discourse will be in Nigel Farage finally being elected as an MP at his eighth attempt and leading his anti-immigration Reform UK to three seats in the Commons.

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