Election 2024: Labour sweep in on a landslide 

Matt Sutton, Director

The 2024 General Election is now over and, as predicted, the Labour Party have swept to power, leaving the Conservative Party licking their wounds and retreating into opposition for the first time in 14 years.

Make no mistake, this is an incredible result for Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer, who by sheer force of will – if not personality – has changed the Labour Party into an electoral behemoth.

From returning their worst result ever in 2019, in the course of one Parliamentary term they have now delivered one of their strongest.

However underneath those headlines, a lot more was revealed over the course of an evening which showed totemic changes to the state of British politics.

Whilst the utter obliteration of the Conservatives did not quite come to pass, the overarching message was that the British electorate chose to reject Conservative rule en masse, whether that meant voting Labour, Liberal Democrat – who, alongside Reform are no doubt ecstatic with their results – and even in some surprising instances, an independent candidate.

What is certain is that by lunchtime Sir Keir Starmer will be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, taking with him a colossal Labour Parliamentary majority.

In his speech in the early hours of Friday morning Sir Keir was magnanimous, almost sanguine, but the scale of the challenge he faces cannot be lost on him or his incoming Cabinet. He has a unique opportunity to shape the country in his own image, one which as the election campaign showed, we don’t actually know what it properly looks like.

And yet, despite the scale of the Labour victory, at 35% their vote share across the country shows that the support for Labour’s new government will be broad but shallow. Many remain unconvinced that Starmer is the right man to take the country forward.

One of subplots of the night is that many across the country have rejected the traditional two-party dominance of British politics.  Starmer has continually emphasised the need to return to calm and stable politics after the chaos of the Tories, and so the incoming Prime Minister would do well to acknowledge this in the early days of his premiership, and to give some colour to his personality.

Setting expectations early will be key. This doesn’t have the feel of 1997 and the emergence of Blair. Whilst Labour should no doubt embrace the size and scale of their victory, they will be faced with the same scale of challenges that the Conservatives have failed to address in recent times: the cost of living, the public finances, the tax burden, Britain’s diminishing role on the global stage and a series of ongoing global conflicts.  

And what of Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives? It’s easy to sweep them aside, yesterday’s man on the dawn of a new government. However, amidst what is undoubtedly a catastrophic night for the Tories, one which has seen several Cabinet ministers – and one former Prime Minister – lose their seats whilst potential future leadership contenders fall by the wayside, they remain in opposition as the second largest party.

The post-mortem will undoubtedly begin in the next few days, as the party attempts to pick up the pieces ahead of the ensuing leadership contest taking place over the summer, albeit one done from the periphery of opposition rather than as the incumbent government.

There will be plenty more stories to emerge throughout the day as the final results emerge. But what is clear is that millions of voters across the country now feel that the traditional two party system does not represent them, leading to the emergence of Reform under Nigel Farage and the re-emergence of the Liberal Democrats under Sir Ed Davey, truly one of the big winners from last night.

Britain’s electorate emerges from the General Election more divided than it has been for a long time.

The challenge facing Sir Keir Starmer will be how he wields his new super majority – the largest in a generation – to bring people together. 

Seats in Parliament as of 9am / (change since 2019)

Labour: 411 (+210)
Conservatives: 119 (-248)
Liberal Democrats: 71 (+63)
Scottish National Party: 9 (-38)
Sinn Fein: 7 (0)
Democratic Unionist Party: 5 (-3)
Reform: 4 (+4)
Green 4 (+3)
Plaid Cymru 4 (+2)

Expected timeline

  • 5th July: Results Day. Rishi Sunak resigns as PM and Keir Starmer ‘kisses hands’ with the King prior to entering Number 10.
  • 9th July: Parliament Returns, MPs sworn in.
  • 17th July: King’s Speech, setting out the Government’s legislative agenda for the new Parliamentary session.
  • 24th July: Select Committee Memberships announced. Engagement with Select Committee members can begin.
  • 25th July: Private Members’ Bill Ballot drawn.
  • End of July: Summer Recess (exact date tbc, though expected to take place from 31st July).
  • 2nd September (TBC): Parliament returns.
  • 16th September (TBC): First reading of Private Members’ Bills.
  • 18th September onwards (TBC) Provisionally Budget day, based on the 10 week OBR forecast window. Clashes with conference recess.
  • 14 Sept to 2nd of Oct (TBC): Party Conferences.

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