Rishi Sunak Apologizes for Historic Conservative Defeat as Keir Starmer Leads Labour to Sweeping Victory

Featured & Cover Rishi Sunak Apologizes for Historic Conservative Defeat as Keir Starmer Leads Labour to Sweeping Victory

Rishi Sunak has issued an apology to the nation after the Conservative Party’s devastating defeat in the general election, marking the worst performance in its parliamentary history.

Sir Keir Starmer has led the Labour Party to a sweeping victory and will succeed Mr. Sunak as the UK’s prime minister.

Taking full responsibility for the outcome, Mr. Sunak acknowledged the public’s “anger” towards his administration. “To the country, I would like to say first and foremost I am sorry,” he said. “I have given this job my all, but you have sent a clear message that the government of the UK must change, and yours is the judgment that matters. I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.”

Despite earlier rain, Mr. Sunak delivered his speech outside Number 10, this time with an umbrella to avoid a repeat of his soaked announcement in May. He stated he would step down as party leader, “not immediately but once the formal arrangements for selecting my successor are in place.” The MP for Richmond and Northallerton assured there would be “an orderly transition” and praised Sir Keir as “a decent and public-spirited man who I respect.”

After bidding farewell to Downing Street staff just before his speech, Mr. Sunak left with his wife, Akshata, to offer his resignation to the King.

In his earlier victory speech in central London, Sir Keir proclaimed “change begins now,” adding, “it feels good, I have to be honest.” With nearly all results declared, Labour is projected to form the next government with a majority of 174, boasting 412 MPs, an increase of 211 from the last election.

The Conservatives face their worst defeat ever, losing 250 seats and currently holding 121 seats. Former Prime Minister Liz Truss, whose brief and disastrous tenure led to a decline in Tory support, lost her South West Norfolk seat to Labour by 630 votes. Ms. Truss saw her significant 32,988 majority overturned, with the Reform candidate coming third with 9,958 votes. Several senior Tories, including Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Commons leader Penny Mordaunt, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, and former minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, also lost their seats.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told the BBC that “a large number of people who had previously voted Conservative have voted Reform,” emphasizing the need for the Conservatives to “think hard” about regaining their support. Former minister Steve Baker, a long-time critic of Tory leaders over Brexit, expressed relief at losing his Wycombe seat after 14 years, stating, “Thank God, I am free – it’s over.”

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage won a seat in Parliament on his eighth attempt, in Clacton, declaring, “this is just the first step of something that is going to stun all of you.” Reform now has four MPs, including chairman Richard Tice and former Tory Lee Anderson, and has placed second in many areas, drawing significant votes from the Conservatives.

In his London victory speech, Sir Keir told enthusiastic Labour supporters that the country was waking up to “the sunlight of hope” which was “shining once again on a country with the opportunity after 14 years to get its future back.” He added, “Now we can look forward – walk into the morning.”

The Liberal Democrats, slightly behind Reform in votes, have benefitted most from the Tory collapse, reaching a record 71 MPs, including seats of three former Tory PMs – Boris Johnson, David Cameron, and Theresa May. Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey remarked, “This is a record-breaking night for the Liberal Democrats.” He pledged to work hard to maintain trust with a focus on key issues, particularly the NHS and care.

The Green Party of England and Wales now has four MPs, with co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay among the winners. However, it was a disastrous night for the SNP, which has been reduced to just eight MPs so far.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn retained his Islington North seat as an independent. In contrast, another prominent former Labour MP, George Galloway, failed to hold onto his Rochdale seat, losing to Labour’s Paul Waugh.

Sir Keir Starmer’s landslide is just shy of the 179-majority Tony Blair achieved in 1997, with Labour’s national vote share up by only 2%, mainly due to significant gains in Scotland, according to polling expert Sir John Curtice. Nonetheless, it signifies a Labour prime minister in Downing Street for the first time since 2010 and sparks a struggle over the Conservative Party’s future direction.

Penny Mordaunt, narrowly defeated by Labour by 780 votes, had been considered a potential candidate for Tory leadership post-election. Conceding defeat, she attributed the loss to the party’s failure to honor the trust people placed in it. Her sentiments were echoed by Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, who admitted the Tories had “lost the trust of the British people by not delivering,” adding, “We have to regroup and reconnect and actually just be a unified Conservative Party.”

The Conservatives lost seats they’ve held since the 19th or early 20th century across England’s shire counties. Former attorney general Sir Robert Buckland, the first Tory MP to lose his seat as results began coming in, described the situation as “electoral Armageddon” and viewed Labour’s victory as a “big vote for change.” He sharply criticized colleagues, such as former home secretary Suella Braverman, for what he termed “spectacularly unprofessional and ill-disciplined” behavior during the campaign, lamenting the upcoming Tory leadership contest as “going to be like a group of bald men arguing over a comb.”

The SNP is “not winning that argument” on Scottish independence, acknowledged First Minister John Swinney. “Opinion polls still show that about half the population in Scotland want our country to be independent,” he told the BBC. “That’s not manifested itself in the election result tonight, and that’s something we’ve got to look at very carefully as a party and to think about how we can remedy that situation.”

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