UK General Election: Results and What Lies Ahead

 The Labour Party has won a landslide majority in the UK General Election.

Sir Keir Starmer MP’s party has looked to have secured 411 seats in the House of Commons, which would equate to an overall majority of 172.

The Conservatives, on the other hand, have just 121 seats - a significant drop off from the 365 seats the party won in the 2019 Election, but not the complete wipeout being predicted by some polls.

Also of note:

  • In Scotland, the SNP saw a near wipeout of its Westminster representation, with the pro-independence party having secured just 9 seats as we speak. This marks a significant collapse from the 48 seats won by Nicola Sturgeon in 2019 and is the party’s worst result since 2010;
  • Reform UK, despite initial exit polls showing figures as high as 13, have won just 5 seats with leader Nigel Farage and Chairman Richard Tice both winning their respective contests;
  • Labour, benefitting from the SNP’s decline, made substantial gains north of the border with 33 seats, while also winning back the majority of its Northern England ‘Red Wall’ seats lost in 2019; and
  • The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, have significantly increased their representation in the Commons by making significant inroads in formerly Conservative “Blue Wall” seats in southern England, more than quadrupling their number of MPs to 72 and reclaiming their position as the third largest party in Westminster.

The European Political Community summit on 18 July at Blenheim Palace outside Oxford will be Starmer’s first chance to set expectations with EU Heads collectively about Labour’s ambitious for improving the UK-EU relationship but we can expect this to be a priority for the new UK government.

Starmer - his victory, his party, his government (Mike Craven, Lexington Executive Chair)

More than anything, this is Keir Starmer’s personal victory. Just five years ago, the voters handed Labour its worst result in decades. Most pundits expected another two full terms. When Keir Starmer took over in January 2020, Labour looked unelectable. Last night was an extraordinary achievement. In the four and a half years since his election, he has ruthlessly reshaped his party, expelling former leader Jeremy Corbyn, and ditching most of the policy platform from 2017.

Of course, the Tories helped seal their own fate. The Brexit referendum might have been ten years ago, but it cast a long shadow and last night’s reckoning for the Conservatives was in part a reflection of the decade of political chaos that followed.

Now the voters have given Labour a very large mandate but on a relatively low share of the vote. Starmer leads the biggest parliamentary party since the 1997 parliament but with many nursing very small majorities. He will dominate the new parliament and the new parliamentary Labour Party, but very big majorities are always difficult to manage. A nice problem to have perhaps but a problem nonetheless.

Rachel Reeves and her team have been planning the next few weeks for some time. Expect a series of announcements including on infrastructure and housing with much emphasis on economic stability and growth. There will be a meeting of the infrastructure council in the next few days and an investment summit in the early Autumn. Reeves aims to reassure the markets about her approach to the economy, partly to have more headroom for her September Budget. There will also be a bill in the King’s Speech to strengthen the legal standing of the Office for Budget Responsibility, in part to begin a five year programme of reminding voters about Liz Truss and her disastrous Budget.

As well as appointing ministers, Starmer will also have to shape his Number 10 operation and governance structure. His behaviour in Opposition suggests a very powerful Number 10 and government decision making concentrated in a quad of PM, Chancellor, Deputy Leader Angela Rayner and Cabinet Office minister Pat McFadden. A new structure based on the five "missions" set out in the manifesto is likely, the most important of which will be economic growth. His Number 10 appointments will likely be closely managed by Sue Gray, his formidable chief of staff. The architect of the victory, Morgan McSweeney, is expected to have a senior political role.

On the 5th, Starmer appointed his Cabinet, with 22 Labour MPs to key positions. Over the weekend he has appointed junior ministers and advisers. He then has a series of milestones, starting with the King's Speech on 17th July, the fiscal event in September and the Labour Party conference at the end of that month.

At this time, although the Conservatives will be in disarray, Starmer's most senior advisers are focused on creating a political narrative which frames the Tories as responsible for the economic problems facing the country. Liz Truss may have lost her seat, but she is going to feature in Labour speeches for many years to come.

Rishi Sunak announced his resignation on the 5th and the Conservative Party board has met on Monday the 8th, to consider the process for electing a new Leader. Elections for the backbench 1922 committee will take place quickly which will give some indication of the relative strengths of the various candidates. Some MPs largely on the left are already agitating for a change of rules to exclude the wider membership from the process. The response to that pressure will again be an indicator of the relative strengths of the various party factions.

As with any new government, it will be a hectic few weeks. And although the next election due in five years time seems a long way off, voters' views of governments are often shaped in the first few weeks. The manifesto gave only few hints of the Starmer political project. The next few weeks and months of real decisions often taken in the heat of real crises will define the character of the new government and all the most important choices will be made by the new PM himself. It's his victory, his party and now his government.

Let's talk!  
Make your
policy impact
with FIPRA