Keir Starmer is new UK Prime Minister as Rishi Sunak admits defeat


Labour leader Keir Starmer is expected to be formally appointed as Prime Minister today as his party was on course to secure a landslide General Election win

Rishi Sunak has conceded defeat to Keir Starmer after the Tories were annihilated at the General Election.

The Labour leader will become Prime Minister today after he secured an historic landslide. At 4.45am, Mr Sunak conceded defeat as he appeared on stage at his local count. Minutes later it was confirmed Labour had hit the 326 seats needed for a majority.

“The Labour Party has won this General Election and I have called Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory,” Mr Sunak said. “The British people have delivered a sobering verdict tonight. There is much to learn and reflect on and I take responsibility for the loss.”

He said he had apologised to hard-working Tory candidates who lost their seats.

Rishi Sunak was grim-faced as he conceded defeat at his count in Northallerton
Rishi Sunak was grim-faced as he conceded defeat at his count in Northallerton

In one of the most stunning victories of the night, Labour snatched Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket where the Tories were defending a 22,085 majority. It also overturned a 19,879 majority in Cannock Chase.

The Conservatives are on course for their worst result in history with scores of the party’s MPs losing their seats, including Cabinet ministers Penny MordauntGrant Shapps, and Gillian Keegan.

Speaking at his count in Camden, Mr Starmer said: “Tonight, people here and around the country have spoken and they’re ready for change, to end the politics of performance, a return to politics as public service. The change begins right here… You have voted. It is now time for us to deliver.”

The Labour leader appeared emotional as he paid tribute to his wife and children. “I have to thank Vic and my family more than anyone for their love and support and for keeping me totally grounded,” he said.

Neil Kinnock said Labour’s victory was “the greatest comeback since Lazarus”. “I must say I’m just ecstatic about the fact that an entirely dependable, fully grown-up guy, Keir Starmer, and his wife, are going to go through that door tomorrow,” he added. “I have unalloyed and unreserved delight.”

Lord Mandelson said he was “gobsmacked”. “I think that an electoral meteor has now struck planet Earth,” he added. “This is an extraordinary achievement for Keir Starmer and his team. Nobody in 2019, nobody would have imagined this was possible.”

Rachel Reeves said Labour’s victory represented “a page turned, a new chapter started” as she won her seat in Leeds West and Pudsey. The would-be Chancellor said it was a “chance to look ahead to a brighter future that seemed so remote for so long”.

She added: “We have campaigned as we mean to go on as a government of unity, not of division, a government of wealth creation and a government in the national interest… That is our promise to Britain… We will not let you down. I will not let you down.”

The result marks an extraordinary comeback for Labour just five years after it suffered its worst result in living memory.

But there were some disappointments. Shadow Culture Secretary Thangam Debbonaire lost Bristol Central as she was beaten by Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer. And fellow Labour frontbencher Jonathan Ashworth was defeated by an independent candidate in a shock defeat. He was defending a 22,023 strong notional majority in Leicester South.

Rishi Sunak looked downbeat as he arrived at his count
Rishi Sunak looked downbeat as he arrived at his count

When the polls closed at 10pm, it became clear that Rishi Sunak was heading for crushing defeat as voters delivered their damning verdict on 14 years of Tory rule. He will be kicked out of Downing Street today.

Mr Starmer, 61, is expected to go to Buckingham Palace at lunchtime to be formally appointed Prime Minister by the King. Later, he will appoint key ministers including Rachel Reeves, who will become the first female Chancellor of the Exchequer in history, and Ms Rayner, who will be Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr Sunak will announce he is quitting as Tory leader, triggering weeks of bitter infighting as the party tears itself apart over who should replace him.

MPs will return to Westminster on Tuesday and begin the process of swearing in, before the King formally opens Parliament on July 17. The government is expected to make early announcements on housebuilding, as well as how it intends to tackle the crisis in prisons before the Commons rises for a shortened summer break at the end of the month.

The new Prime Minister will fly to Washington DC on Tuesday where he will meet fellow world leaders including US President Joe Biden at a summit marking the 75th anniversary of Nato. Mr Starmer is also expected to make one of his first foreign trips to Kyiv to demonstrate Britain’s continued commitment to Ukraine.

When he walked out of Downing Street in the pouring rain to call the election six weeks ago, Mr Sunak took a huge gamble that he could take chunks out of Mr Starmer’s commanding poll lead. But Labour remained well ahead throughout the entire campaign as the Tory PM made a series of major errors, including leaving D-Day 80th anniversary commemorations early and his botched handling of the election betting scandal.

At the last election, Boris Johnson won 43.6% of the vote and 365 seats, a majority of 80. Labour under Jeremy Corbyn picked up 32.1% and 202 seats.

Since taking over as party leader in April 2020, Mr Starmer has transformed the party.

The former Director of Public Prosecutions has pledged to get on with the job of fixing Britain as soon as he enters Downing Street. He is promising to revive the economy, put 6,500 more teachers in schools and bring down NHS waiting lists by putting on millions of extra hospital appointments. Labour has also vowed to put more police on the streets, bring down household bills with GB Energy and restore control of the country’s borders.

Labour last swept to power in 1997 when Mr Blair got 418 seats in his historic landslide victory, which gave him a majority of 212.





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