Sunak admits election defeat – Tories collapse


Lerato Khumalo

Great Britain is heading for a change of government: Prime Minister Sunak and his Conservative Party will experience a historic defeat, according to an initial forecast.

Labour landslide victory after 14 years of Tories: Keir Starmer’s party has clearly won the parliamentary election in Great Britain, according to a forecast. The 61-year-old is thus likely to succeed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Sunak admitted defeat early Friday morning: “The Labour Party has won this general election and I have called Sir Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory,” said the Prime Minister. The British had made “a sobering judgement”. “I take responsibility for that.”

In his first reaction, Starmer promised change in the country. “The people have spoken, they are ready for change,” said the leader of the Labour Party in his north London constituency. “They have voted and it is time for us to deliver.”

The by-election polls were published immediately after the polls closed at 10 p.m. local time (11 p.m. CEST). According to the forecast, the Labour Party will receive 410 of the 650 seats. After the Conservatives won a comfortable majority of 365 seats five years ago, they can now only count on 131 seats in the House of Commons.

The opposition Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, gained ground and, according to post-election polls, won 61 seats in the election held under the majority voting system. Nigel Farage’s anti-immigration party Reform UK will therefore have 13 seats and would thus perform significantly better than polls had predicted.

The first results of the vote count could be published as early as Thursday evening. The results from more and more constituencies will then be available during the night into Friday.

Sunak is expected to submit his resignation to the King on Friday. Starmer will then visit the King, who will then ask him to form a government. The new Prime Minister will then address the British in front of his official residence, Downing Street. The King’s Speech from the Throne, which will set out the programme of the new government, is scheduled for July 17.

Starmer also won his constituency of Holborn and St Pancras by a clear margin. However, the 61-year-old lost around 17 percentage points compared to the previous vote in 2019. This was mainly due to the surprisingly high level of support for an independent candidate who had clearly spoken out against Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip.

The predicted result is not surprising: polls have long predicted a clear victory for the Social Democrats. During the election campaign, Sunak, whose party had to contend with mishaps and a scandal over illegal betting on the election date, was barely able to catch up.

According to renowned pollster John Curtice from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, the clear outcome of the election was not primarily due to enthusiasm for Labour, but rather frustration with the previous governing party. Sunak was already the third head of government of his party in the last legislative period, which was characterized by economic stagnation and a sharp rise in the cost of living.

Starmer, who is now about to take office as Prime Minister, thanked his many supporters on the online service X. “To everyone who campaigned for the Labour Party in this election, to everyone who voted for us and put their faith in our transformed Labour Party: thank you,” he wrote.