Live Updates

Labour wins UK election as Sunak concedes defeat

CNN " data-fave-thumbnails="{"big": { "uri": ",w_960,c_fill" }, "small": { "uri": ",w_960,c_fill" } }" data-vr-video="false" data-show-html="" data-byline-html="" data-check-event-based-preview="" data-is-vertical-video-embed="false" data-network-id="" data-publish-date="2024-07-05T01:10:25.821Z" data-video-section="world" data-canonical-url="" data-branding-key="" data-video-slug="uk-elections-2024-kier-starmer-profile-sebastian-cnni-digvid" data-first-publish-slug="uk-elections-2024-kier-starmer-profile-sebastian-cnni-digvid" data-video-tags="" data-details="">
WHITLAND, WALES - JULY 3: Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer smiles on the final day of campaigning at the West Regwm Farm on July 3, 2024 in Whitland, Wales. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
Meet the man who will be the new UK prime minister
02:59 - Source: CNN

What we're covering

  • Labour has won the UK general election with a landslide, with results from almost all the parliamentary seats declared. Keir Starmer will be the next prime minister, telling supporters at a victory rally that “change begins now.”
  • The Conservative Party suffered a heavy defeat after 14 years in government, bringing a brutal end to the premiership of Rishi Sunak. Several cabinet ministers lost their seats, as did former PM Liz Truss.
  • Nigel Farage’s populist Reform UK party won its first seats and came second in many more, splitting the right-wing vote and contributing to the Conservatives’ losses.
  • The Liberal Democrats will be the third biggest party in parliament after its best result in years. The Greens made gains while the Scottish National Party suffered a collapse, and is on course to lose almost 40 seats.
  • See the full results here.
54 Posts

The UK’s transfer of power is an exercise of ruthless efficiency

The media take up their positions in Downing Street following Labour's landslide election victory on July 5, in London, England.

Somewhere in London, a removal van will soon start trundling towards Westminster. Desks will be cleared, photographs will be taken down, closets will be emptied. By this evening, 10 Downing Street will have a new resident.

In other countries, the gap between an election to the formation of a new government can take months. In the United Kingdom, power is transferred with ruthless efficiency.

In the coming hours, Sunak is expected to give a resignation speech; Starmer is expected to give a victory one; both are expected to visit Buckingham Palace. 

By the afternoon, the conversation will have shifted to the makeup of Starmer’s government. We’ll be bringing you the latest until then.

UK election marked by low turnout with some 40% of British voters skipping the vote

People queue to vote at a polling station in London, England, on July 4.

Labour might have won a big majority in the parliament, but once the celebrations end, the party will need to ask itself a tough question: why did so many voters stay home?

Official data showed electoral turnout – the proportion of eligible voters who actually voted – stood just below 60%, only the second time in the past century that more than 40% of voters decided to stay home.

It dipped to 59.4% in 2001 – something political commentators at the time attributed to the dominance of Tony Blair’s Labour Party at the time. Their win was seen as certain well ahead of the vote.

Given the predictions of a major Labour win, it is possible that some voters decided to skip the vote on Thursday because they thought the election was already decided.

But there are other possible explanations.

Some voters in Scotland might have missed the vote because of its timing. Schools in Scotland have already shut down for the summer break, meaning some families might have been away on vacation. While postal vote is possible – and popular – in the UK, British media reported delays to some ballot papers being delivered.

And then there are the voters who decided to skip the vote because they are fed up with politics altogether – not wanting the Conservatives to remain in power but uninspired by the alternatives.

Here is a selection of voter turnout over past century, according to election data from the House of Commons Library: 

  • 1924: 77.0% 
  • 1929: 76% (The first election in which men and women had equal right to vote)
  • 1931: 76.4% 
  • 1935: 71.1% 
  • 1945: 72.8% 
  • 1950: 83.9% 
  • 1970: 72.0% 
  • 1979: 76.0% 
  • 1987: 75.3% 
  • 1992: 77.7% 
  • 1997: 71.4% 
  • 2001: 59.4% 
  • 2005: 61.4% 
  • 2010: 65.1% 
  • 2015: 66.2% 
  • 2017: 68.8% 
  • 2019: 67.3% 
  • 2024 (as of Friday morning): 59.9%

Here is how one third of votes got Labour two thirds of seats in the Parliament

Staff sort ballots at the Richmond and Northallerton count centre in Northallerton, England, on July 4, as polls close in Britain's general election.

The Labour Party has won an overwhelming majority in the UK Parliament, securing close to two thirds of the seats in the UK Parliament.

Here is the curious thing though: in terms of the vote share, only about one third of voters cast their votes for Labour in the election yesterday.

This discrepancy is due to the British electoral system, based on the “first past the post” principle.

The country is divided into 650 constituencies, each holding their own contest to pick one member of parliament. Whoever wins the largest number of votes in their constituency becomes the MP – they don’t need to secure the majority in order to be elected. In fact, most MPs don’t.

This means that the number of seats a party wins doesn’t necessary reflect its overall popularity across the country, something that has historically disadvantaged the smaller parties.

Reform, the insurgent rightwing populist party led by Nigel Farage, secured 14% of the votes in this election, but came first in only four constituencies. That means they will take up four seats in the parliament – less than 1%. The Greens, who got some 7% of all votes also secured four seats.

There have been campaigns to change the electoral systems over the years, but none succeeded – possibly because the parties making the decision are the ones who could lose the most from a shift to a different system.

The UK is waking up to a new political reality. Here is what you need to know.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reacts after winning his seat at Richmond and Northallerton during the UK election in Northallerton, Britain, on July 5.

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak conceded defeat to the opposition Labour Party as voters in the UK general election delivered a devastating verdict on 14 years of Conservative rule.

Here is what you need to know:

Labour Party wins big: The center-left Labour won the election by a landslide, securing the biggest majority in its history. Party leader Keir Starmer celebrated the victory in front of supporters at the Tate Modern art gallery in London. “Change begins now. It feels good, I have to be honest,” he said.

Prominent Conservatives lose their seats: The Tories have had a tough night, suffering the biggest defeat since the party was formed. Among the top brass Conservatives losing their seats: the former (albeit short-lived) Prime Minister Liz Truss, House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt, Defense Secretary Grant Shapps and Justice Secretary Alex Chalk.

Handover of power expected Friday: Sunak is expected to deliver a farewell address in front of 10 Downing Street, the famous British Prime Minister’s residence, before traveling the short distance to the Buckingham Palace to see King Charles III and formally resign. Once he is out, Starmer will have his audience with the monarch, who will ask him to form a government. The newly minted Prime Minister will then travel to the Downing Street where he will address the nation.

Reform UK ears in the right wing vote: An insurgent rightwing populist party led by the Nigel Farage secured four seats, with Farage himself getting into the parliament for the first time – after running seven times in the past.

Liberal Democrats reborn: The Liberal Democrats were on course to secure their best result ever – and will return as Britain’s third-biggest party in Westminster. They unseated several high-profile Conservatives.

Greens quadruple their seats: The Green Party won four spots in the Parliament, gaining three more seats compared to the last election in 2019.

SNP wipeout: The Scottish National Party has suffered big losses in Scotland, likely putting the question of independent Scotland to rest for now. Labour took a host of seats from the party.

Low turnout: Turnout is on track to be the lowest for more than 20 years. Of the seats declared by early Friday morning, turnout is hovering just below 60% – down from 67.3% at the last election in 2019.

World leaders congratulate Starmer on election victory

Leaders from several nations have been sending their congratulations to Britain’s next prime minister Keir Starmer.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted a photo of himself and Starmer on X, writing that they have “lots of work ahead.”

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese sent “congratulations to my friend and new UK Prime Minister @Keir_Starmer on his resounding election victory.” He added in a post on X that he was looking “forward to working constructively” with the incoming Labour government.

Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre congratulated Starmer on an “historic election win” on social media.

Malta’s Prime Minister Robert Abela said he was “delighted by @Keir_Starmer’s resounding victory in the UK general election” in a post on X. 

“Congratulations to @UKLabour for driving a progressive and engaging campaign that empowered UK citizens. I look forward to strengthening further the excellent relations between [Malta]  and [the UK],” said Abela.

President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs also congratulated Starmer in a post on X.

“Congratulations, @Keir_Starmer, on your electoral victory. Latvia and UK are likeminded friends and allies,” he said. 

“Looking forward to close cooperation fostering bilateral relations and addressing many challenges the world and Europe face.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated Starmer on a “convincing election victory” in a post on X.

“Ukraine and the United Kingdom have been and will continue to be reliable allies through thick and thin,” he wrote.

“We will continue to defend and advance our common values of life, freedom, and a rules-based international order.”

The "fun" campaign that delivered a "record-breaking" night for the Lib Dems

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey at the London Art Bar in central London where party supporters are watching the results of the election on July 5.

As leader of the party that won just 11 seats at the last general election, Ed Davey has had to scrap for attention. With British media duly dominated by Labour and the Conservatives – joined this time by the nascent Reform UK party – the centrist Liberal Democrats faced a problem: How to get eyeballs on their campaign?  

Davey, it turned out, found an ingenious solution: Be a bit of a clown.

Over the past six weeks, Davey has bungee-jumped, rollercoaster-ed, kayaked, wheelbarrowed, frisbee-ed, slip-and-slid, paddle-boarded and hula-hooped his way across the country, on the promise to take voters’ concerns – but not himself – seriously.

Many British voters might have been hard-pressed to name the leader of the Lib Dems before this campaign. Now, millions will be familiar with him. Amid Sunak’s gaffes and Starmer’s unflinching earnestness, Davey has cut the figure of a fun uncle, winning him widespread affection.

The campaign has not, however, been without more somber moments. In a moving campaign video, Davey told the story of how he looks after his 16-year-old son, John, who was born with severe learning and physical disabilities and requires round-the-clock care. 

The Lib Dems made social care a key part of their manifesto – and have been rewarded with 70 seats, which Davey hailed as the party’s “best results in a century.”

Sunak to address British public before tendering resignation to King Charles

Outgoing British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is seen leaving the Conservative Party headquarters in London on July 5.

Outgoing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has arrived in London to begin the process of formally standing down and allowing election winner Keir Starmer to form a government.

A plane reported to be carrying Sunak landed at the RAF Northolt airbase in west London shortly after 7 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET), according to video carried by British broadcasters. 

Sunak then traveled to the Conservative party headquarters in London where he is expected to address party members and staff. 

He is expected to make a statement at Downing Street at approximately 10.30 a.m. local time (5.30 a.m. ET), before travelling to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation to King Charles, according to a provisional timeline of events released by the Prime Minister’s office.

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer will then have an audience with the King, who will officially ask him to form a government. 

Starmer will then travel to Downing Street and address the nation as new Prime Minister at around 12.20 p.m. local time (7.20 a.m. ET). 

Pro-Palestinian independent candidates upset Labour in three constituencies 

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, center, joins pro-Palestinian activists in protest calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, in central London on March 30. Corbyn won the Islington North constituency as an independent during the July 4 election.

While it undoubtedly has been a good night for Labour, its stance on the war in Gaza has cost the party votes.

Pro-Palestinian independent candidates have managed to upset Labour in three constituencies the party won in 2019: Blackburn, Leicester South and Islington North.

Adnan Hussain, who promised to make sure that opposition to “the injustice being inflicted against the people of Gaza be heard,” won in Blackburn, a constituency which had previously voted Labour in every election since it was created in 1955.

Meanwhile, Labour’s Shadow Paymaster General Jonathan Ashworth, who had been Leicester South’s MP since 2011, was unseated by the independent candidate Shockat Adam, who won 35.2% compared to Ashworth’s 32.9%.

“As a genocide is being committed in Gaza, according to all human rights observers, many have expressed feeling betrayed and ignored on this matter,” Adam said in his campaign to win the Leicester South constituency.

Former left-wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was expelled from the party in a spat over antisemitism, won the Islington North constituency as an independent. His win gives him the opportunity to challenge the current Labour leader (and next PM) Keir Starmer in parliament, who has sought to remold Labour from the Corbyn era.

However, Labour has gained the Rochdale constituency from the pro-Palestine politician George Galloway.

Galloway dramatically won the constituency in a by-election earlier this year, in which he accused the “political class” of having “failed Rochdale, failed Britain and failed Gaza.”

Liz Truss loses her seat, an epic collapse for the short-lived former prime minister

Former prime minister Liz Truss departs after losing her Norfolk South West seat to the Labour Party, at Alive Lynnsport in King's Lynn, Norfolk, on July 5.

Britain’s former Prime Minister Liz Truss has suffered another unprecedented humiliation, losing her seat and being dumped from parliament less than two years after she led the country.

Truss was prime minister for just six weeks, by some distance the shortest stint in British history. Her premiership collapsed after a shambolic financial plan spooked markets and investors and caused the value of the pound to plummet.

She refused to speak after her defeat, leaving the stage with her fellow candidates instead, attempting to retain a steely look on her face.

Truss lost by 630 votes. She picked up 11,217 votes, to Labour’s 11,847.

Her defeat is one of the most staggering moments in the long history of British elections. It trumps the famous moment in 1997 when Defence Secretary Michael Portillo lost his seat; even among the worst-case forecasts for the Conservatives, few imagined that Truss could be defeated in her once ultra-safe Tory safe.

Rishi Sunak had sought to distance the Conservatives from Truss’s tenure, but she nonetheless represented the party in the seat she has held since 2010.

She now becomes the face of the Conservatives’ collapse, on an unprecedented night that saw the ruling party thoroughly rejected by the electorate.

Record number of women elected to parliament

Labour candidate Catherine Fookes reacts after winning the Monmouth constituency at Chepstow Leisure Centre in Chepstow, Wales on July 5, 2024. Fookes defeated longtime incumbent conservative MP David TC Davies.

Seats are still being declared on what has been a gripping election night, but it’s already official: There will be a record number of female lawmakers in the new House of Commons when it returns.

It follows a trend from the past few elections in which the number of women in parliament has increased.

So far, some 242 female MPs have been elected to parliament. The previous record set in 2019 was 220. Before that in 2017, it was 207 and 196 in 2015.