At a Glance

Keir Starmer and the Labour Party have won a decisive victory in the 2024 General Election, winning over 410 parliamentary seats and a majority of over 170.

This is one of the largest majorities Labour has ever achieved, second only to Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide.

The Conservatives suffered one of their worst ever defeats. The Lib Dems made deep inroads into the Blue Wall; Reform UK won four seats whilst the SNP suffered heavy losses across Scotland to Labour’s advantage


What has happened?

The Labour Party will form the next government with a decisive majority in the General Election. Labour achieved one of the biggest comebacks in electoral history given the Party’s disastrous results in 2019, making this victory all the more historic.

As ever, context is important. Despite Labour’s average vote share increasing nationally, the Conservative vote completely collapsed, which accounts for the sheer scale of the victory. Labour’s vote share in seats the Party were defending actually dropped by 6% on 2019.

As widely predicted, the Conservatives suffered heavy losses and are left with a parliamentary party made up of a little over 100 MPs. The Party suffered twelve Cabinet-level losses, including potential leadership contender Penny Mordaunt. Grant Shapps became the first sitting Defence Secretary to lose their seat since Michael Portillo in 1997. Despite missing out on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s scalp, the Liberal Democrats more than quadrupled their number of seats, making significant gains in the South West and traditional ‘Blue Wall’ as widely predicted.

It turns out the opinion polls were right all along. The 10pm exit poll predicted Labour would win a majority of 170 seats in the House of Commons, which was the right ballpark. Though we are waiting for the final few results, turnout appears to have fallen to its lowest level since 2005. Speaking to party activists from the Tate Modern art gallery in London, a triumphant Keir Starmer declared: “Change begins now” after Rishi Sunak conceded defeat.

Labour retook the vast majority of their traditional ‘Red Wall’ heartlands across Northern England and the Midlands that had, in part, voted Conservative in 2019. Constituencies like Blyth and Ashington, Bishop Auckland, Grimsby and Workington returned to their traditional Labour allegiances. Despite this, a pattern of large swings against Labour in seats with large Muslim populations emerged, with Jonathan Ashworth losing his Leicester South seat to a pro-Gaza Independent candidate, while Wes Streeting barely clung on in Ilford North.

This takes nothing away from the fact this was a historic victory for Labour and one that has fundamentally remade the landscape of British politics for years to come.


Key Wins and Lossses

  • Labour won a series of ‘Blue Wall’ seats that have previously returned a Conservative MP for over a century, including Aldershot (1918), Bury St Edmonds (1885) and Dorking (1885).
  • Jeremy Hunt held the newly created Godalming and Ash constituency despite an 8.8% swing towards the Lib Dems.
  • Reform UK Leader Nigel Farage won Clacton on his eighth attempt to enter Parliament, while Lee Anderson held Ashfield for Reform.
  • Headline Cabinet-level casualties include Penny Mordaunt (Portsmouth North), Grant Shapps (Welwyn Hatfield) and Gilian Keegan (Chichester).
  • Shadow Cabinet Ministers Thangam Debbonaire (Bristol Central) and Jonathan Ashworth (Leicester South) lost their seats to the Greens and an Independent respectively.


The Labour victory and its implications

Labour have won. Keir Starmer will be Prime Minister. This is a stunning victory. Its scale is phenomenal. A three-figure majority. With over four hundred Labour MPs.

Five years ago, Labour were politically dead. Their worst result in 80 years with a leader unable to lead and universally derided. Commentators thought Brexit had permanently “realigned” the electorate. Labour insiders were uncertain that the party had the capacity to rebuild after the Corbyn years. It was a “two parliaments”, ten-year job at best.

The Conservative Party, with three Prime Ministers, five Chancellors, and a catastrophic mini-budget, may have made it easier for Labour to win. But nothing is given to you in politics. This is the biggest ever comeback in British political history. Be in no doubt: this is Keir Starmer’s victory.

It is also a deep, deep rejection of the Conservative Party. The Conservatives are going to finish with fewer seats than they’ve ever held in more than 200 years. The anti-Tory tactical voting in this election is on a scale never-before seen. The seats held by four of the last five Prime Ministers rejected the party: David Cameron’s old seat went Lib Dem, as did Theresa May; Boris Johnson’s old seat went Labour; And Liz Truss spectacularly lost her seat by 600 votes.

That is a mandate for change. The political and media world is going to have to catch up. Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens combined scored around 53%. And with 70+ Lib Dem MPs there is now a clear mandate from the electorate for a different approach to the one pursued by successive Conservative Prime Ministers over the last 14 years.

Starmer and his Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, have pursued a relentlessly disciplined approach to policy making. But don’t confuse that for caution. Their manifesto is a big change to many certainties we’ve become used to since David Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010. Starmer is a dogged leader. Clear on strategy. Listens to evidence and able to adjust accordingly. But relentlessly focused on outcomes. When he repeats that he’s “the son of a toolmaker” don’t sigh, but listen harder. He’s telling you that his instinct is always to put ordinary people first. If his relentlessness is his great political superpower, then his focus on ordinary people is his first political instinct. He’ll sniff out vested interests quick enough.

As for Reeves. The editor of Newsnight called her “boring, snoring” back in 2013. While that’s far from the truth in her personally, it also misses the essence of her politics. Reeves, is the opposite of somnambulant. She took tough, hard decisions in the last 14 years to fight for things that matter and against the toxic politics of the Corbyn years. For Reeves, office is everything because that is where she can put into practice the things she’s been talking about for two decades. She understands markets and the economy better than most politicians (in any party) and how government and the public sector must work together with the private sector. Her discipline and focus is anything but boring. It’s a drive to harness that energy in the economy for change.

And Labour is hungry. Fourteen years out of power: Starmer, Reeves and their party are aching to respond to the public calls for change and to shape the country. Partnership with business is back in fashion. They know there is a stability premium to be had. The commitment to an industrial strategy and creating an institutional architecture to support that will change our economy. Business gets a seat at the table but it will be expected to deliver.

The housing and planning system is first in line for spending the political capital won at this election. Locked in stasis for decades, the UK has lost the ability to build new houses or new infrastructure quickly. They want to change that early on. Expect announcements soon. The cost of decarbonising energy may have been the biggest fight they had in opposition. But don’t think Starmer, Reeves and Ed Miliband are going to backslide on this. It’s a way to get private investment in and boost skills and jobs. Our transport system is also up for change. Rail franchises brought under public control and buses regulated by local authorities and mayors.

With highly constrained public finances Labour’s hunger for investment in health and education cannot be immediately met. But they have plans to close tax loopholes for an instant investment in the health service, bringing down waiting lists. And in education, putting VAT on private school fees will fund more teachers to improve the quality of education for the 93% who don’t use the independent sector. These plans will be carried through as Labour are in need of revenue raisers and they also know they will be judged on delivery, improved outcomes and change that people can see and feel in their everyday life. And after nearly a decade of permanent political turmoil, many will hope Starmer lives up to his promise for “Politics to tread a little more lightly on your life”. The geopolitical head winds and challenging economic inheritance mean this new Labour government has a tightrope to walk.

The public hunger for change is huge. Reform took votes from Labour as well as the Tories and have currently won four seats. Their vote share is likely to be higher than the Lib Dems. The Greens took a big Labour scalp in Bristol when their co-leader, Carla Denyer defeated Thangam Debbonaire, the Shadow Culture Secretary and won two other seats – a quadrupling of their representation in Parliament. And independents surprised on the upside: campaigners against the war in Gaza defeated Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Jonathan Ashworth in Leicester and took seats Labour had expected to gain in Dewsbury and Blackburn. There is a warning in these results for Keir Starmer.

But Labour will hope the time they have put into preparing for government and the desire for change will give them the political space to get on with things without the internal party chaos and division we’ve seen recently under the Conservatives.

It's not often that you know you’re experiencing a moment when everything changes. But today is certainly one of those. After 14 years of living through Conservative government, much of which has been dominated by Brexit intra-party infighting that has passed the public by, none of that matters anymore.

A new era has dawned. Change is coming.


Conservatives suffer historic defeat

Throughout the early hours of this morning EGA has been asking Conservatives across the country to describe the Party’s performance in one word. Abysmal. Catastrophic. Disastrous. Existential. Grim. These are just a few examples, but the theme is clear and with the Party on course for a truly historic defeat, they neatly encapsulate how the election went for the Tories.

The Conservative Party hemorrhaged seats in all parts of the country. With each passing hour, more and more senior Tories lost their seats. From seats in the Red and Blue Walls to Scotland and Wales, you name it, the Conservatives probably lost it as part of their collapse from 365 MPs to somewhere just north of 100. It will take some time for the sheer scale and magnitude of what we have witnessed to be properly disseminated, but even at this stage, a series of fundamental factors for why the Conservatives are now in a fight to remain relevant in British politics are already apparent.

Having begun consistently around 20-points behind Labour in the polls, it is highly unlikely that there is anything that Sunak or the Conservatives could have done during the campaign period to help them pull off an electoral miracle. To even have a chance of stemming the loses and reducing Labour’s majority, the Conservatives needed a faultless campaign. That simply did not happen. From the moment the Prime Minister called the election in the pouring rain without an umbrella, the campaign has gone from bad to worse, with the D-Day debacle and ‘Gamblegate’ cutting through on the doorstep. One candidate at the election described the national campaign in candid terms this morning: “At times, it was unclear which side CCHQ was on”.

High-profile policy announcements like reintroducing a form of national service, bolstering the triple lock on the state pension and further reductions in national insurance were meant to help the Party recover lost ground. Instead, they felt flat and failed to shift the political dial. As did the Party’s attempts to warn the electorate about Labour’s perceived tax plans. These were all part of the core vote strategy the Party adopted at the beginning of the campaign to try and squeeze the Reform vote. Many Conservative insiders felt that this approach was working in the first week or so of the campaign. Then came the return of Farage and this strategy was blown out of the water. If you look at results right across the country, the rise of Reform was the key cause of the seismic drop in support for the Conservatives.

This election was about change. After 14 years in Government, the Conservatives were always going to struggle. They did, however, not help themselves. Whilst much of the immediate analysis will focus on the campaign period itself, the devastating impact of ‘Partygate’ and Liz Truss’s mini budget on the electoral fortunes of the Tories cannot be overstated. Prior to these self-inflicted errors, the Conservative Party’s polling position was relatively strong. It is easy to forget that in the last Parliament the Conservatives even won the Hartlepool by-election and Keir Starmer nearly resigned. Fast forward to the present day and the political reality is very different. It was a significant gamble for the Prime Minister to call the election when he did. It failed and it failed spectacularly.


The Liberal Democrat resurgence

The traditional third party of British politics normally needs to be all things to all people, taking seats where it can, off both Labour and the Conservatives. Not in this election. This was a campaign ruthlessly targeted almost exclusively at Tory constituencies. With 71 seats won and the party’s 'best result for a century', including the constituencies of three former Conservative Prime Ministers, the strategy has paid off far beyond expectations. South West constituencies that the party has previously held such as North Cornwall, Taunton and Yeovil made up a significant proportion of the wins. But the gains also include a number of seats that have never voted Lib Dem before in the prosperous, graduate heavy, southeast. These ‘Blue Wall’ areas may never have voted Lib Dem in the past but many did vote Remain in 2016.

It has been a slow and painful path back from 2015 when the party went from 57 to 8 and even the current leader Ed Davey lost his seat. The trauma of that election, seen by many in the party as a direct result of their misguided decision to take part in the Coalition with the Conservatives, has run deep. With the party then losing its way in the Brexit wars, its time in the wilderness continued in two further elections.

But the seats where the party was brutally crushed by the Conservatives in 2015 have been the most rewarding in this election. Policies that might have put off these Conservative voters (such as the long-held penny on income tax) were ruthlessly dropped at last year’s party conference. In their place are policies hard for anyone to dislike: less sewage, more nurses, better cancer care. Though they have previously spent years campaigning to rejoin, in this election the party has barely mentioned the European Union.

Today’s result is a ringing endorsement of Ed Davey as leader. He has adopted a unique campaigning style but he is also the only Party leader to have seen his personal approval rating improve significantly over the period. It is also a vindication of his team strategy, criticised by some party members who felt it lacked ambition. The success also comes from the foundation of local council wins in places like Berkhamsted and by-election victories that have built the party’s infrastructure. Most importantly these results also proved to wavering voters that the party could win in their area and were worth their vote at this general election.

Today the party will celebrate exceeding even their boldest expectations. In this larger Parliamentary party, in time, however, divisions will emerge. Many of these new MPs have been elected to defend the greenbelt. Yet at conference last year the party membership voted against the leadership to retain a national target to build 380,000 homes a year.

Whatever the future challenges, the Party has now decisively returned to their traditional position as the third party in UK politics bringing with it the extra public funding and the slot at PMQs each week. How many more seats the party can realistically take from the Conservatives, or whether the party now needs to pivot to the left to outflank the new Labour Government, will be an emerging question. A return to triangulating between left and right is likely, but, the Party will say, that is a question for another day.


Scotland: Labour gains at the SNP’s expense

Scotland is another unambiguously bright spot for Labour with the party reclaiming its dominant position north of the border after a decade of SNP rule in the aftermath of the 2014 independence referendum. While a few Scottish seats remain outstanding, the overall picture is clear – Labour have beaten the SNP, above all in the crucial ‘central belt’. First past the post has helped the SNP in previous elections, netting them nearly all Scottish seats for just over 50% of the vote. This time around it has cut the other way, with the SNP vote down around a third, but their seat total down by over three-quarters.

A shellshocked John Swinney conceded it was a “difficult and damaging result” which would prompt a long and hard think about what comes next. In contrast, a buoyant Anas Sarwar, talked about a two-stage process culminating in the 2026 Holyrood elections where the pitch would be Scottish Labour working hand in glove with the new Labour government in Westminster. That said, the SNP’s drubbing does not necessarily mean that independence is dead for good. It is certainly on the back burner for the foreseeable future, but even as Scottish voters lost faith in the SNP, polls suggest support for the Union only remains a few points above that for independence.


Reform UK win four seats

Reform have had a remarkable night. Nigel Farage is an MP (at the eighth attempt), they have won four seats overall and are ahead of the Lib Dems on national vote share. They have more than achieved the minimum objectives Nigel Farage set for the campaign of establishing a “parliamentary bridgehead”. In addition to Farage’s win in Clacton, Chairman Richard Tice won in Boston, Rupert Lowe won in Great Yarmouth while Lee Anderson held his Ashfield seat following his defection.

But the exit poll suggested Reform could win 13 seats – in line with many of the pre-election polls. So this lower total on 14% of the vote will disappoint some. The party failed to really get within breathing distance of Labour in several ‘red wall’ seats like Barnsley and Hartlepool where Labour’s own vote dipped, and the Conservative vote largely collapsed. Nonetheless, Reform has clearly established itself as the main challenger in many such seats and will look to build on this foundation in the run-up to the next election as Labour has to grapple with the trade-offs of governing.

There is no way of telling how much better Reform could have done had the past two weeks not been spent on Farage having to defend his ‘pro-Putin’ position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or the running problem of racist and extremist comments made by various Reform candidates and activists.

Farage’s plan to effect a ‘reverse takeover’ of the Conservatives appears more difficult given the gulf in seats won by both parties. But he is set to be a player in the next parliament as the Conservatives have little hope of recovery without winning over many of those who voted Reform yesterday.


Materials presented by Edelman Global Advisory London. For additional information, reach out to

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