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UK General Election 2024 Explained: Labour Party Triumphs in UK Elections

keir-starmer-uk prime minister courtesy Aljazeera

14 years of UK conservative rule came to an end July 4th 2024, as Keir Starmer and his revitalized Labour Party achieved a landslide victory, marking the end of 14 years of Conservative rule. According to exit polls, the Labour Party is set to secure 412 seats with a majority of 174, signaling a profound change in the country’s governance.

A Vote for Change
This election, more about the nation’s mood than specific policies, reflected the electorate’s dissatisfaction with the incumbent Tories and a readiness to embrace Starmer’s vision of a “changed Labour Party.” Starmer’s Labour has distanced itself from the hard-left elements and socialist rhetoric of its recent past, presenting a more centrist, pragmatic approach that resonated with voters across the country.

sunak vs starmer courtesy BBC
Former Prime Minister Sunak vs New Prime Minister Starmer Courtesy BBC

Historic Conservative Defeat
The Conservative Party faced its worst defeat in terms of seats in history, with projections showing they could win as few as 122 seats. This dramatic decline is a clear indication of the public’s desire for change after more than a decade of Conservative governance. The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, have secured their highest seat count since 1923, winning 71 seats, while the Scottish National Party (SNP) is forecast to finish with 10 seats. Other smaller parties, including Reform UK, Plaid Cymru, and the Green Party, have also made notable gains.

UK General election results courtesy BBC
UK General Election results Courtesy BBC

Disparities in Vote Share and Seats
Interestingly, the election has revealed the largest gap on record between the share of votes won nationally by parties and the number of seats they have secured. Labour’s vote share increased by less than two points, from 32% to 34%, while the Conservative vote share plummeted by about 20 points to 24%. Despite having the third highest number of seats, the Liberal Democrats were behind Reform UK in terms of vote share. Reform UK, despite their significant vote share, struggled to convert these into seats, returning only five MPs, including their leader Nigel Farage in Clacton.

Regional Shifts
The Conservatives experienced significant losses in areas with high Brexit support, with their vote share dropping by 27 points in constituencies where more than 60% voted to leave the European Union. Additionally, in England and Wales constituencies with large numbers of people holding mortgages, the Conservative vote share fell by 24 points to 32%, while Labour’s share grew by five points to 28%. In constituencies with large Muslim communities, Labour support fell by 23 points to 39%, while the Tory vote share declined by 12 points to about 13%.

Low Turnout
Voter turnout across the UK was notably low, at 60%, the second lowest in a UK election since 1885, with only the 2001 election recording a lower turnout at 59%. This low engagement underscores the electorate’s growing disillusionment with the political process, a challenge the new Labour government will need to address.

In Conclusion
Keir Starmer’s victory marks the beginning of a new chapter in UK politics. With a strong mandate, the Labour Party is poised to implement its vision for the future, promising a more inclusive and progressive government. As the country moves forward, all eyes will be on how this renewed Labour Party navigates the complexities of governance and addresses the pressing issues facing the nation.

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