“Massacre”, “catastrophic”: Tories shocked


Lerato Khumalo

The Labour Party is celebrating its landslide victory in Great Britain, while the Tories are licking their wounds. The reactions.

Supporters and representatives of the British Labour Party are cheering, while the Tories are left with long faces. Initial reactions in Britain show how hard the election defeat has hit Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s party. Labour’s deputy party leader Angela Rayner initially reacted with noble restraint. It would be an “honour” to be re-elected as an MP, said the politician, who is likely to become deputy prime minister. She added that as an opposition party she had not been able to “bring about change” over the past 14 years – and it would be a “privilege” to bring about the change that the people want.

In a first reaction on Platform X, leading candidate Keir Starmer thanked his voters: “To everyone who worked for Labour in this election, to everyone who voted for us and put their trust in our transformed Labour Party – thank you!”

Ruth Davidson, the former Scottish Tory leader, has described the exit polls as a “massacre” for her party. But it was not as bad as it could have been, she told Sky News. She said: “Well, actually 131 (MPs, ed.) – although there is no sugarcoating it, this is a massacre.”

The election was also a disaster for the Scottish National Party. Scotland’s former Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon told ITV that it was a “seismic night” for Labour. Her party could only have ten seats in Westminster – previously it had 48.

William Hague, former Tory leader and former Foreign Secretary, said the Conservative Party would “take a long time” to recover from this defeat. Speaking on Times radio, he said the exit poll result was “catastrophic” but not as bad as some of the forecasts. With 131 seats, the Tories would “just” be able to form an effective opposition, he said. He continued: The answer will be to reposition ourselves for the future.

Conservative Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride told BBC Radio 4: “This is a very difficult moment for the Conservative Party” and said he was very sorry that opinion polls showed a number of his colleagues would lose their seats. As for retaining his own seat, he said: “We will have to wait and see”.

For some Tories, it is already certain that they are no longer in Parliament. Welsh Minister David TC Davies told BBC Wales that he has lost his seat. He has been in Parliament since 2005 and had a majority of more than 9,000 at the last election. He was also the only Cabinet minister with a seat in Wales. Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt is also expected to lose his seat. He would be the first Chancellor in modern history not to be re-elected to Parliament.

Peter Mandelson, a former Labour minister, said he was “astonished” by the election results and described Labour’s likely victory as “an extraordinary achievement for Keir Starmer and his team”: “A meteorite has hit planet Earth,” he told the BBC, adding: “In some ways, that’s not surprising, given what the country has been through over the last decade.

There were also initial reactions to the election results outside of Great Britain. SPD European politician Katarina Barley welcomed the election success of the Labour Party in Great Britain. The overwhelming victory of the Social Democrats also gives the EU hope, Barley told the German Press Agency. “I am delighted about the great opportunity that after years of tension with a Labour Prime Minister in London, a friendlier and more constructive tone is now being struck.” 14 years of conservative government, including Brexit, have alienated the EU and the United Kingdom from each other.