UK election live updates: Labour Party wins enough seats to form majority gov

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Starmer’s new government faces huge economic challenge, analyst says

The Labour Party has won an overwhelming victory in the election — but now comes the hard part.

The party faces the mammoth task of restoring chronically underfunded public services in a time of economic hardship.

Political analyst Tim Bale of Queen Mary University of London said it was going to take huge funding to improve the state-funded National Health Service, a key issue for a majority of voters. But other big ticket infrastructure items also need attention.

“The question is where Labour is going to get that money from and how quickly it can manage to do it,’’ Bale told The Associated Press. “It’s got a big, growth plan that intends to liberalize planning in this country to make it easier to build houses, factories, infrastructure that will hopefully raise the tax revenue that the government can actually put into public services.”

“Whether they can do that in time to satisfy public expectations, I think is the big question,” he said.

Top jobs in Starmer’s new Cabinet announced

A woman walks through Parliament Square in Westminster across from the Houses of Parliament in London on Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Several other top jobs in Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s new Cabinet have just been announced.

David Lammy has been appointed the foreign secretary, while Yvette Cooper is the home secretary looking after key issues including immigration and policing.

John Healey was named the defense secretary.

Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign coordinator, has been appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster — the most senior minister in the Cabinet after the prime minister.


Rachel Reeves appointed as the first female Treasury chief

Rachel Reeves has been appointed Treasury chief in Britain’s new Labour government, the first woman to hold the job.

Labour’s Rachel Reeves, newly appointed Britain’s Treasury chief, speaking during a general election campaign event

(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Reeves was put in charge of the country’s finances on Friday by Prime Minister Keir Starmer. She gets a job and title, Chancellor of the Exchequer, that dates to the 16th century.

The former Bank of England economist faces the daunting task of delivering Labour’s promise to get the economy growing and invest in public services while working with a large national debt.

“I know that the road ahead will not be easy. There are no quick fixes and the hard choices lie ahead,” she said Friday.

Starmer is appointing his Cabinet on Friday after winning a landslide election victory.

Angela Rayner appointed UK deputy prime minister

Angela Rayner arrives at Downing Street in London on Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Thomas Krych)

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has been appointed as Britain’s deputy prime minister.

Rayner was the first senior politician to be appointed by Prime Minister Keir Starmer as he begins the work of appointing his Cabinet.

Rayner will also take the role of the Secretary for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Rayner has often spoken about her tough background growing up in a deprived public housing block and leaving school early as a young mother.

She started her career as a trade union official before embarking on a career as a lawmaker.


Nigel Farage heckled by protesters as he hosts a press event

Nigel Farage gives a victory speech after winning his seat at Clacton Leisure Centre in Clacton, England, on Friday July 5, 2024. (Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA via AP)

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, who has long been one of Britain’s most divisive politicians, was booed and heckled by several protesters before he delivered a speech in London.

Several protesters were escorted out of the room as the right-wing politician repeatedly shouted “Boring!” at their heckling. Farage told one of the protesters to return to the pub.

Farage, 60, won a seat in Parliament for the first time after seven previous failed attempts. His newly-formed Reform party won four of the House of Commons’ 650 seats in Thursday’s election on the back of a campaign focused on cutting immigration in Britain.

Farage’s campaign was tainted by a string of controversies sparked by racist or misogynistic comments reportedly made by his candidates. On Thursday, he said he was going to “professionalize” his party, adding: “Those few bad apples that have crept in will be long gone and we will never have any of their type back in our organisation.”

What happens behind the black door on Starmer’s first day

U.K. Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria pose for the media on the doorstep of 10 Downing St. in London on Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

After a few hours of sleep to shake off a night of celebration and an audience with the king, Keir Starmer stepped through the front door of 10 Downing St. for the first time as prime minister on Friday.

When he did, he entered the alternate reality of a man who meets regularly with King Charles III and has ultimate control of Britain’s nuclear missiles, all while adjusting to life in a creaking 17th-century landmark and trying to balance his work with his personal life.

▶ Read more about the traditions and responsibilities Starmer faces on his first day.

One of Starmer’s first jobs is to pick a new Cabinet

U.K. Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria enter No. 10 Downing Street in London on Friday, July 5, 2024. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool Photo via AP)

One of the first items on new U.K. Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s agenda is to appoint a new Cabinet.

The new ministers will emerge one by one from 10 Downing St. once Starmer makes his picks.


What we learned from the UK general election

A view across from U.K. Parliament in London on July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

The U.K. has its first change in government in 14 years after the Labour Party won a landslide victory early Friday in a general election that saw the Conservative Party suffer its biggest defeat ever.

The new government faces huge challenges, including fixing the country’s sluggish economic and social malaise resulting in part from Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and several Conservative Party scandals.

▶ Read more about what we learned from the general election.


More details from Starmer’s first speech as prime minister

By BRIAN MELLEY, JILL LAWLESS

U.K. Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria outside 10 Downing Street in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Some more quotes from Starmer’s speech before he entered the famous black door of No. 10 Downing Street:

  • “My government will make you believe again.”
  • “We will rebuild Britain.”
  • “Brick by brick we will rebuild the infrastructure of opportunity.”
  • He vowed to lead a “government of service” on a “mission of national renewal.”

Starmer gives his first speech as UK prime minister

U.K. Prime Minister Keir Starmer makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Prime Minister Keir Starmer is giving his first speech outside No. 10 Downing Street as the new leader of the U.K.

He started off by thanking his predecessor, Rishi Sunak, before saying “the work of change begins immediately.”


Starmer arrives at Downing Street for the first time as UK prime minister

U.K. Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria greet supporters as they arrive in Downing Street in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Keir Starmer has arrived at Downing Street for the first time as the new prime minister of the United Kingdom.

He arrived in a car with his wife, Victoria Starmer, shortly after meeting with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.

Keir Starmer will give a speech outside No. 10 Downing Street.

Downing Street was lined with Labour Party supporters, who cheered his arrival, waving small Union Jack flags.


Keir Starmer officially becomes the new UK prime minister

Labour leader Keir Starmer has officially become prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Starmer received the blessing of King Charles III to form a government in a ceremony known as the “kissing of hands.”

A photo of the occasion served as the official announcement of Starmer’s new title.

King Charles III, right, shakes hands with Keir Starmer where he invited the Labour Party leader to become prime minister and to form a new government. (Yui Mok, Pool Photo via AP)

Starmer is now headed from Buckingham Palace to take up residence in No. 10 Downing Street, where he is expected to speak.

Keir Starmer arrives at Buckingham Palace

Labour leader Keir Starmer has arrived at Buckingham Palace to accept the request of King Charles III to form a government after his party’s landslide victory.

In a ceremony known as the “kissing of hands,” Starmer will officially become U.K. prime minister. He will then head to his official residence at 10 Downing Street.

Starmer’s arrival at the palace is part of the choreography of changing governments that harkens back to a time when the king exercised supreme power and chose his preeminent minister – the prime minister – to run his government.

The modern-day constitutional monarchy echoes that tradition, with the king officially offering the post to the party that holds a majority in the House of Commons.


Rishi Sunak’s campaign showed his lack of political touch

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak walks back into 10 Downing Street in London Wednesday, May 22, 2024, after he announced that he is to call a General Election for July 4. Heavy rain fell during his speech. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Rishi Sunak’s campaign to remain as U.K. prime minister showed a lack of political touch.

The Conservative Party’s problems were grave before the election but missteps by Britain’s first multimillionaire prime minister contributed to the party’s defeat.

Predecessors such as Tony Blair and Boris Johnson were politically divergent but able to connect with voters. As for Sunak, he didn’t have to call the election until January 2025.

He defied political advice by doing so in May — with Conservative support dwindling steadily amid an economic slump, ethics scandals and a revolving door of leaders over the last two years. The Conservative Party also didn’t appear ready for the campaign compared with Labour, and voters haven’t feel the improvement in Britain’s economy.

▶ Read more on Sunak’s downfall.

Sunak resigns

Britain’s outgoing Conservative Party Prime Minister Rishi Sunak turns away after speaking outside 10 Downing Street before going to see King Charles III to tender his resignation in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Rishi Sunak has departed from Buckingham Palace following his resignation as prime minister after the Conservative Party suffered staggering losses in the general election.

Sunak officially left the post after tendering his resignation to King Charles III in his final audience with the monarch.

Sunak was driven to the palace in a chauffeur-driven ministerial car, and left in a private vehicle.


Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street after final speech as prime minister

Akshata Murty wife of Britain’s outgoing Conservative Party Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reaches out to him as they leave 10 Downing Street before going to see King Charles III to tender his resignation in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Rishi Sunak has left the prime minister’s residence and headed to Buckingham Palace to offer his resignation to King Charles III.

“This is a difficult day, but I leave this job honored to have been prime minister of the best country in the world,” Sunak said in his final speech outside 10 Downing Street. Sunak said he had given the job his all.

Sunak conceded defeat earlier in the morning as vote counts confirmed exit polls that had projected a landslide defeat for his Conservatives to the Labour Party.

After Sunak resigns, Labour leader Keir Starmer will go to the palace to seek the king’s blessing to form a government.

After performing the “kissing of hands,” the new prime minister will head to his official residence, where he is expected to speak.

China hopes to work with UK ‘on basis of mutual respect’

A policeman stands guard outside 10 Downing Street in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/David Cliff)

“Developing a stable and mutually beneficial China-UK relationship is in line with the fundamental interests of the two peoples, and is conducive to both sides responding to global challenges together and promoting world peace and development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said Friday.

“We hope to work with the UK to move China-UK relations forward on the right track on the basis of mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” Mao said at a daily press briefing.

China-UK relations have been roiled in the last few years by blocks on Chinese investment in Britain over national security concerns, tensions in the South China Sea and China’s crackdown on democracy and free speech in the former British colony of Hong Kong in violation of its pledge to keep such institutions intact until 2047.

Left-wing disruptor George Galloway loses seat after only a few months in parliament

George Galloway gives a speech in the town of Rochdale, England, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

One of the casualties of the Labour Party’s landslide win was a former member.

George Galloway, the leader of the Workers Party of Britain, lost the seat he won only months ago in a special election where he mobilized support against the Labour Party’s stance on Gaza.

Galloway, who did not stay to listen to the result, lost his Rochdale seat to Labour’s Paul Waugh, a former journalist.

Rochdale, like many other northern towns, has a sizable Muslim population.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has faced criticism within Muslim circles over his strong backing for Israel in the wake of the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7. He has subsequently shifted his position to call for a ceasefire.

Galloway, a left-wing disruptor, was expelled by Labour in 2003.


PHOTOS: Moments you may have missed

Keir Starmer kisses his wife Victoria at the Tate Modern in London, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Niko Omilana holds an “L” behind Rishi Sunak in Northallerton, England, July 5, 2024. (Temilade Adelaja, Pool via AP)

Count Binface speaks to a journalist in Northallerton, England, Friday July 5, 2024. (Temilade Adelaja, Pool via AP)

Independent candidate Bill Blockhead, left, views results on a phone in Somerset, July 5, 2024. (Jonathan Brady PA via AP)


Labour’s triumph and challenges

By BRIAN MELLEY, JILL LAWLESS

Britain’s Labour Party leader Keir Starmer shakes hands with other candidates after he was elected for the Holborn and St Pancras constituency, in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

With almost all the results in, Labour had won 410 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons and the Conservatives 118. For Starmer, it’s a massive triumph that will bring huge challenges, as he faces a weary electorate impatient for change against a gloomy backdrop of economic malaise, mounting distrust in institutions and a fraying social fabric.

▶ Read more on Labour’s historic election win.

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss and other senior Conservatives lose seats

FILE – Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference, 2024 CPAC, at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. on Feb. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg looks at his phone at the University of Bath, in Somerset, during the count for the North East Somerset and Hanham constituency, July 5, 2024. (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)

Member of Parliament Penny Mordaunt speaks at the Conservative Party annual conference in Manchester, England, Oct. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

Liz Truss, the former prime minister whose premiership lasted just 49 days, has lost her lawmaker’s seat in the election.

Truss lost her Norfolk South West seat to Labour by just several hundred votes.

Several other high-profile and senior Conservative lawmakers also lost their seats, including House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt.

Mordaunt lost her Portsmouth North seat in the south of England to Labour’s Amanda Martin by fewer than 1,000 votes.

Mordaunt came to international attention during King Charles III’s coronation when she held a large sword aloft through the ceremony.

Others who lost seats included education secretary Gillian Keegan and former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg.


He’s derided as dull, but Starmer becomes prime minister with a sensational victory

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer acknowledges his supporters during a post election rally at the Tate Modern in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Keir Starmer has led Britain’s Labour Party to a landslide election victory, and will become prime minister — the first leader from the center-left party to win a U.K. national election since Tony Blair, who won three in a row starting in 1997.

Like Blair, who refashioned the party as “New Labour” in the 1990s, 61-year-old Starmer led Labour to victory over Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party in Thursday’s election after dragging the party towards the political middle ground.

Read more on the UK’s next prime minister.

The winner only becomes prime minister when King Charles III says so

Britain’s King Charles III pauses during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London on Nov. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool, File)

The Labour Party has won Britain’s general election, bringing a new party to power for the first time in 14 years. But Labour leader Keir Starmer won’t actually become prime minister until a carefully choreographed ceremony on Friday during which King Charles III will formally ask him to form a new government.

Take a look at how the ceremonial events will unfold.


Australia, New Zealand leaders congratulate Starmer

By CHARLOTTE GRAHAM-McLAY

The leaders of Australia and New Zealand have sent their congratulations to Labour Party leader Keir Starmer on his election victory.

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in a social media post on X that he looked forward “to working constructively” with the new British government.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Christopher Luxon also took to X to congratulate Starmer, writing: “New Zealand and the UK are great friends and can do so much more together.”

Luxon added his thanks to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak “for your service to your nation and friendship to New Zealand.”


WATCH: Larry the cat seen waiting patiently outside Downing Street

Downing Street cat Larry prepares for new UK prime minister in Number 10

As the U.K. awaits a new prime minister, one feline was also patiently waiting to be let into No. 10 Downing Street.

Larry, Britain’s mouse-catcher in chief and long time resident at the leader’s official residence, was pictured waiting outside the famous black door early Friday.

The tabby cat was not bothered by the large crowd of press photographers waiting outside ahead of the change of power expected later Friday. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to go to King Charles III to tender his resignation, and soon after Labour leader Keir Starmer will meet the monarch to be officially appointed.

Larry was recruited by former Prime Minister David Cameron to tackle rats seen scuttling close to the British leader’s official residence, and entered Downing Street in February 2011.

“We will put country first, party second,” Starmer says

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer acknowledges his supporters during a post election rally at the Tate Modern in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. Labour Party leader Starmer says voters “have spoken and they are ready for change” as an exit poll points to landslide win, and is expected to be the next British Prime Minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Labour leader Keir Starmer, who is set to become the first Labour prime minister in 14 years, says his government will always put “country first, party second.”

He said a “mandate like this comes with great responsibility,” and added that his government will be focused on “national renewal.”

“We have to return politics to public service,” he said.

With more than half of all 650 seats counted, Labour looks set to secure one of its biggest ever majorities in the House of Commons.

Starmer is expected to pay a visit to King Charles III later Friday to get the monarch’s permission to form a new government.

“We did it,” Starmer says as official results show Labour has won a majority

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer kisses his wife Victoria after he spoke to his supporters at the Tate Modern in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. Labour Party Starmer says voters “have spoken and they are ready for change” as an exit poll points to landslide win, and is expected to be the next British Prime Minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

The Labour Party has officially won enough seats to have a majority in Britain’s Parliament, as vote counting continues.

The party had won 326 of the 650 seats by 5 a.m. Friday, meaning leader Keir Starmer will become prime minister and can form a majority government.

“We did it,” Starmer told supporters at the Tate Modern museum in London.


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says Labour has won the election

Independent candidate Niko Omilana holds an “L” behind Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who speaks after winning his seat in the general election at the Richmond and Northallerton count center in Northallerton, England, Friday July 5, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party headed for a landslide victory Friday in a parliamentary election, an exit poll and partial returns indicated, as voters punished the governing Conservatives after 14 years of economic and political upheaval. (Temilade Adelaja, Pool via AP)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says the British people have “delivered a sobering verdict,” and the Labour Party has won the election.

Sunak, who held onto his seat in North Yorkshire, told those gathered: “The Labour party has won this general election.”

“I take responsibility for the loss,” he said. “To the many good, hard-working Conservative candidates who lost tonight, despite their tireless efforts, their local records and delivery, and their dedication to their communities. I am sorry.”

He added that he has called Labour leader Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory.

“Today, power will change hands in a peaceful and orderly manner, with goodwill on all sides. That is something that should give us all confidence in our country’s stability and future,” Sunak said.

With about half of all seats counted, what are the results so far?

Votes are counted at Alive Lynnsport in King’s Lynn, in Norfolk, England, during the count for the South West Norfolk constituency in the 2024 General Election, Thursday, July 4, 2024. (Jacob King/PA via AP)

With more than half of the 650 seats declared so far, Labour is emerging way ahead of other parties with at least 250 seats.

The governing Conservatives have 44 seats, while the left-of-center Liberal Democrats have won 32 seats.

The hard-right, anti-immigration Reform UK has won 4 seats so far.

The Scottish National Party has four seats, while the Green Party has 1 seat.


Labour suffers in areas with big Muslim communities over its Gaza stance

While the Labour Party appears headed for a landslide U.K. election victory, it seems clear that it has suffered in areas with big Muslim communities over its stance on the conflict in Gaza.

A prominent Labour member, Jonathan Ashworth, lost his Leicester South seat in central England to an independent candidate who had Gaza at the heart of his campaign.

Ashworth, who was expected to be appointed to the Cabinet, lost around 20,000 votes when compared to the election of 2019.

Even Labour leader Keir Starmer saw his majority in his Holborn and St. Pancras seat in north London reduced, with more than 7,000 votes going to a pro-Gaza candidate.

After the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas militants, Starmer took a strongly pro-Israel stance and maintained it even as the death toll in Gaza swelled. Many Muslims who had been traditional Labour voters were aghast and have clearly turned to other candidates.

Former Labour leader Corbyn holds onto London seat

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn poses outside Islington Town Hall, north London, after handing in his nomination papers for the General Election on July 4, Wednesday June 5, 2024. (Lucy North/PA via AP)

Jeremy Corbyn, who led the Labour Party into the general elections of 2017 and 2019, has held onto his seat in north London — but this time as an independent.

Corbyn, who had been suspended from Labour following a row over antisemitism, decided to stand as an independent candidate in the Islington North constituency he has represented since 1983.

Corbyn won the seat by nearly 7,000 votes over his Labour opponent. Corbyn had won the seat by more than 26,000 votes at the last election.


Reform UK leader Nigel Farage wins in Clacton-on-Sea

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, center, laughs after arriving at Clacton Leisure Centre in Clacton, England, during the count for the 2024 General Election, Friday July 5, 2024. (Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA via AP)

Nigel Farage, the leader of the hard-right Reform UK party, has been elected to Parliament.

Farage won the contest in the seaside town of Clacton-on-Sea, becoming a lawmaker at his eighth try after seven failed election attempts.

Partial results show the anti-immigration Reform, successor to the Brexit Party, has taken votes from both the Conservatives and Labour.

Farage said the party was “going to come second in hundreds of constituencies.” It is not yet clear how many seats Reform will win.

He said there is a “massive gap” in the right of British politics, and it was his job to fill it.

“My plan is to build a mass national movement over the course of the next few years,” he said.

Defense Secretary Shapps loses his seat

FILE – Britain’s Defence Secretary Grant Shapps arrives in Downing Street for a cabinet meeting in London, Wednesday, March 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, long a key figure in the Conservative Party, has lost his seat in the general election.

Shapps lost his contest for Welwyn Hatfield, a seat north of London, by nearly 4,000 votes, or by 8 percentage points to his Labour Party opponent Andrew Lewin.

Shapps, 55, was widely considered to be the government’s most trusted media performers over many years and had been tipped as a potential Conservative leadership candidate to replace Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.


Labour leader Keir Starmer: Voters have spoken and they are ready for change

Britain’s Labour Party leader Keir Starmer reacts on stage as he is elected for the Holborn and St Pancras constituency, in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Labour leader Keir Starmer says “voters have spoken and they are ready for change” as an exit poll points to a landslide win for his party.

Starmer spoke as he won his seat in north London but on a much-reduced majority.

Addressing the audience, he spoke of the need to return politics to “public service” and the need for “change.”

He thanked voters for electing him to serve “my home, where my kids have grown up, where my wife was born.”

“It all starts with you. Change begins in this community,” he said. “You have voted, it is now time for us to deliver.”

Anti-immigration Reform UK wins its first seat in the election

Reform U.K., the recently formed anti-immigration party, has won its first seat in the general election.

Lee Anderson, the former Conservative deputy chairman who defected to Reform a few months ago, held onto his seat in Ashfield in central England with 43% of the vote.

British lawmaker Lee Anderson, left and Mark Butcher, centre right, Reform UK candidate, travel on an open top bus, during a campaign event in Blackpool, England, Thursday March 28, 2024. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Reform has posed a serious headache to the governing Conservatives, luring many previously staunch Tory voters with its promises to cut immigration.

The exit poll suggested that the party, which is led by divisive right-wing politician Nigel Farage, could win up to 13 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons.


Labour leader Keir Starmer arrives at London counting center

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer arrive at the count for the Holborn and St Pancras Parliamentary constituency where the Starmer is standing for election, in London, Friday, July 5, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party who is set to become prime minister if Britain’s exit poll is correct, has arrived at a counting center for his constituency in north London.

Starmer arrived with his wife to rapturous applause from supporters.

Starmer didn’t make any comments but was more than happy to put himself up for selfies.

Count Binface makes an appearance at a vote counting center

Independent candidate Count Binface speaks to a journalist as he arrives for the vote count in Britain’s general election at the Richmond and Northallerton count center in Northallerton, England, Friday July 5, 2024. (Temilade Adelaja, Pool via AP)

The independent candidate is hoping to unseat Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in his seat of Richmond and North Allerton.

The self-described intergalactic space warrior is a satirical character created by comedian David Harvey. He has said his ambition was to conquer “the entire omniverse.” He also said he hoped that his campaign will raise a smile and show that “democracy is alive”.

“There’s something wonderful that in the year of 2024 when so many countries are going to the polls and democracy is under threat like never before, it’s still possible to do what I do,” he said in a recent interview.


WATCH: Vote-counting continues in UK election

Newcastle, Sunderland, Blythe and Ashington, and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s constituency of Richmond and Northallerton began counting ballots after voting ended on Thursday evening. An exit poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Britain’s Labour Party is headed for a huge majority.


Labour’s economic spokeswoman warns of scale of coming challenge

Labour Party Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves speaks to dock workers during a general election campaign event Southampton Docks in Southampton, England, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Labour’s Rachel Reeves, who is set to become the first female Treasury chief if her party wins the U.K. election, said she is “under no illusions” about the scale of the challenge she will face.

“The severity of the inheritance from the Conservatives is truly awful,” she told Sky News.

Reeves noted that the U.K.’s debt burden is running at 100% of the country’s national income and the tax burden at a seven-decade high.

She said she “can’t promise to turn everything around straight away.”

Reeves said the driving mission of an incoming Labour government is to kickstart economic growth.

Conservatives lose the first seat they were defending

The Conservative Party has lost the first seat it was defending in the U.K. general election.

Robert Buckland, a former justice minister, lost his Swindon South seat in central England after his vote slumped by 25% compared with the last election 2019. Labour’s Heidi Alexander won the seat, returning to Parliament after she resigned in 2018 to take up a position with the mayor of London.

Robert Buckland, then-Britain’s Secretary of State for Wales, arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in London, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)


What to expect in coming hours as ballots get counted by hand

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Boxes of votes are emptied ready to be counted for the British Parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras where the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is standing for election, in London, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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Votes are counted for the British Parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras where the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is standing for election, in London, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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Party activists watch as votes are counted for the British Parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras where the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is standing for election, in London, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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Votes are counted for the British Parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras where the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is standing for election, in London, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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Boxes of votes are emptied ready to be counted for the British Parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras where the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is standing for election, in London, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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Boxes of votes are emptied ready to be counted for the British Parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras where the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is standing for election, in London, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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Votes are counted for the British Parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras where the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is standing for election, in London, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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Votes are counted for the British Parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras where the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is standing for election, in London, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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Party activists watch as votes are counted for the British Parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras where the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is standing for election, in London, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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Party activists watch as votes are counted for the British Parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras where the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is standing for election, in London, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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Votes are counted for the British Parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras where the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is standing for election, in London, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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Votes are counted for the British Parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras where the Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is standing for election, in London, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Britain’s Labour Party appears to be headed for a huge majority in the 2024 UK election, an exit poll suggested. The poll released moments after voting closed indicated that Labour leader Keir Starmer will be the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)



Voting in the U.K. is done the old-school way — no voting machines are used. Instead, voters put a pencil to paper, and all ballot papers are counted manually.

After ballot boxes are opened, the ballot papers in the box are mixed with postal vote ballot papers and the counting begins at counting centers across the U.K.

Several dozen seats are expected to be declared from now until around 0100GMT to 0200GMT – including Labour leader Keir Starmer’s London seat, Holborn and St. Pancras.

From 0200GMT onwards will be the busiest part of the night, with more than 200 seats expected to be declared.

By around 0300GMT, enough results should be known to suggest which party is on course to win.

UK will see a more stable government, political analyst says

A leading political analyst says British voters will see a major change in political atmosphere if Labour wins the election.

Anand Menon, professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College London, said the last few years under the Conservatives had been “politics as pantomime. A very unstable Conservative Party with lots of infighting, with lots of ministerial churn, with no stability.

“I think we’re going to have to get used again to relatively stable government, with ministers staying in power for quite a long time, and with government being able to think beyond the very short term as to medium term objectives,” Menon said.


The first of 650 House of Commons seats is declared

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, centre, and shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson, right, walks during a visit to a school during the General Election campaign, in Northamptonshire, England, Monday, June 24, 2024. (Jacob King/PA via AP)

A Labour Party candidate has won the first U.K. seat to report its result in the general election.

Bridget Phillipson, who is Labour’s education spokesperson, won with a majority of 7,169 in the Houghton and Sunderland South seat in the northeast of England from the second-placed candidate.

That’s more than double the majority she won last time the seat was contested in 2019.

The candidate from the recently formed, anti-immigration Reform UK Party came second, pushing the candidate from the governing Conservative Party into third.

Phillipson said the result represented a vote for “hope and unity, not decline and division.”

Some are casting their eyes back to Tony Blair’s win for Labour in 1997

FILE – British Labour Party leader Tony Blair acknowledges applause during his speech to supporters at a campaign stop at Manchester’s Albert Square, Manchester, England, April 26, 1997. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Arzt, File)

With an exit poll suggesting that Britain’s Labour Party is set to win a huge majority, some in Britain are recalling the election results of 1997, when Tony Blair led Labour to a landslide victory.

In 1997, the Labour Party had been out of power for longer than it has been now — 18 years compared to the current 14.

So it was quite a turnaround when Labour, under the leadership of the youthful Blair, won the May 1, 1997 general election decisively. “New Labour, New Britain” was the party’s slogan, and “Things can only get better” by D-ream was its theme song.

Under Blair, Labour won a majority of 179 seats, even bigger than the party’s victory over Winston Churchill’s Conservatives soon after the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.

▶ Read more on how Tony Blair and Labour won in 1997. You can also take a look at other big election moments after World War II, like Margaret Thatcher’s win and Winston Churchill’s defeat.

Leading members of the Conservatives and Labour react to exit poll results

Leading members of Britain’s main political parties are reacting to the exit poll suggesting the opposition Labour Party winning a landslide victory and returning to power for the first time since 2010.

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, told Sky News that the Conservatives are getting punished by voters for “14 years of the chaos and the scandals and the decline.”

Labour’s national campaign chief, Pat McFadden, said the transformation of his party since its poor showing in the 2019 election has been “remarkable.”

We have campaigned as a changed Labour Party, ready to change Britain.

Labour’s national campaign chief, Pat McFadden

Meanwhile, Ruth Davidson, the former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said the exit poll pointed to a “massacre” for the party.

The projection suggests that the Conservatives will end up with its lowest number of seats in the House of Commons since 1906.


Exit poll results suggest a landslide victory for the Labour Party

FILE – Keir Starmer, leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, delivers a speech at a business conference in London, on Feb. 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

The exit poll suggests that the opposition Labour Party is on course to win 410 of the House of Commons’ 650 seats.

The Conservatives are set for 131 seats — the lowest number of Conservative lawmakers on record.

The exit poll also forecasts the left-of-center Liberal Democrats will take 61 seats, and the right-wing, anti-immigration Reform UK is predicted to take 13. The Green Party is expected to take 2.

The Scottish National Party, SNP, are expected to secure 10 seats.

Britain’s exit poll is conducted by asking thousands of people at over 100 polling stations to privately fill out a replica ballot showing how they have voted.

Researchers go back to the same polling stations in each national election and compare the results over time. The exit poll usually provides a reliable — though not exact — projection of the final result.

AP asks: What do voters think about the U.K. election?

Voters in London said they were hoping for change and stability as they cast their ballots on Thursday in an election that is widely expected to bring the Labour Party to power after 14 years of Conservative government.


Polls to close shortly — and exit polls results will be known

At 10 p.m. local time (2100GMT), polls across the U.K. will close — and exit poll results will be broadcast on British news channels moments later.

Britain’s exit poll is conducted by pollster Ipsos and asks people at scores of polling stations to fill out a replica ballot showing how they have voted. It usually provides a reliable — though not exact — projection of the final result.


Meet the political parties in UK’s election

Here’s a look at the parties, who’s leading them and what they’re promising:

Conservatives

  • Who’s their leader? Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
  • How many seats did they win in the last election? 365
  • What are they promising? Delivering a stronger economy and cutting taxes by some 17 billion pounds per year. Increasing public health spending above inflation, and boosting defense spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030. The party says this will be paid for by savings on tax evasion and slashing welfare spending. The party also pledges to cap immigration numbers and remove some asylum-seekers to Rwanda.

Labour

  • Who’s their leader? Keir Starmer.
  • How many seats did they win in the last election? 202
  • What are they promising? Promoting “wealth creation,” encouraging investment and improving Britain’s infrastructure like railways under a 10-year infrastructure strategy. Setting up a state-owned clean power company to boost energy security, paid for by a windfall tax on oil and gas giants. Taxing private schools to pay for thousands of new teachers in state schools. Cutting record-high public health waiting times.

Liberal Democrats

  • Who’s their leader? Ed Davey.
  • How many seats did they win in the last election? 11
  • What are they promising? Improving Britain’s overstretched health and social care systems, including introducing free nursing care at home. Investing in renewable energy and home insulation. Clamping down on sewage-dumping water companies. Lowering the voting age to 16. Rejoining the European Union’s single market.

Reform UK

  • Who’s their leader? Nigel Farage.
  • How many seats did they win in the last election? None — though the party gained its first lawmaker this year when ex-Conservative Party deputy chair Lee Anderson defected to Reform.
  • What are they promising? Freezing all “nonessential immigration” and barring international students from bringing their dependents with them. Leaving the European Convention on Human Rights so that asylum-seekers can be deported without interventions from rights courts. Scrapping “net zero” goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to bring down energy bills.

Scottish National Party (SNP)

  • Who’s their leader? John Swinney.
  • How many seats did they win in the last election? 48
  • What are they promising? Swinney has said that if his party wins a majority of seats in Scotland he will try to open Scottish independence negotiations with the London-based U.K. government. He wants to rejoin the European Union and the European single market. He also called for boosting public health funding, scrapping the U.K.’s Scotland-based nuclear deterrent, and an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

Green Party

  • Who’s their leader? Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay.
  • How many seats did they win in the last election? 1
  • What are they promising? Phasing out nuclear power and getting the U.K. to net zero by 2040. The Greens have pledged 24 billion pounds a year to insulate homes and 40 billion pounds a year invested in the green economy, to be paid for by a carbon tax, a new wealth tax on the very rich and an income tax hike for millions of higher earners.

▶ Read more about the main players in the 2024 UK election.

A key unknown: How will the turnout influence the outcome of the UK election

One of the significant unknowns in the U.K election is how the turnout will influence the outcome. The number of people who voted won’t be known until after polls close.

The U.K. has 67 million residents and 46 million were registered to vote in the last general election in 2019. Turnout at that time was 67%.

In local elections in May — when Conservatives suffered heavy losses in council seats and mayoral offices — turnout averaged 30%, the Institute for Government, an independent think tank, reported.

Conservatives expressed optimism that reports of high turnout on Thursday could help them overcome polls that have suggested a widespread Labour victory.

On the other hand, with a double-digit lead in the polls ahead of election day, Labour fears supporters will be complacent and won’t vote. They’ve urged their supporters to go to the polling stations and vote.

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