HomeNewsKeir Starmer becomes UK PM as Tories suffer record defeat in huge...

Keir Starmer becomes UK PM as Tories suffer record defeat in huge Labor victory

LONDON – A swing election has taken place in the United Kingdom, with the center-left Labor Party winning an overwhelming majority, bringing a crushing end to the 14-year rule of the Conservative Party, which suffered an unprecedented devastating defeat, perhaps the worst of its history.

Voters have inflicted a historic defeat on the Conservative party that led Britain through Brexit and, with almost all results announced, the Labor Party has won over 400 seats, winning a huge majority of over 190, comparable to the Tony Blair’s comprehensive victory in 1997. Meanwhile, the Conservatives have lost hundreds of seats, en route to their worst result since the party’s founding in the 1830s.

Labour’s Keir Starmer became prime minister on Friday morning after Rishi Sunak resigned to King Charles III and Starmer met him immediately afterwards to ask permission to form a government, a formality which was granted by the reigning monarch.

Starmer is now the first Labor leader to win an election since Tony Blair.

The result is notable as a victory for centrist progressives amid the far-right populist rise in the United States and many other major Western countries, when the British electorate voted overwhelmingly to sweep away the Conservatives, blaming their anger at the crumbling state of public services and the British economy. Years of political chaos after Brexit.

Starmer only became Labor leader in 2019 and has dragged his party back to the centre, away from the influence of Bernie Sanders-like former left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Starmer laid out a platform to “end the chaos” and begin to slowly revitalize Britain’s services and infrastructure. He has also vowed to walk away from culture war debates, including Brexit, saying the UK will not be reunited in his lifetime.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives are enduring what one of their leading figures described last night as an “electoral apocalypse”.

Many of the party’s best-known figures lost their seats on Thursday, including a record number of cabinet ministers, including former Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was unceremoniously swept away, as well as one of the leading Brexiteers, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Outgoing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took his own seat but led a weak campaign after deciding to call a snap election six weeks ago, making repeated blunders, the most damaging being returning home early after D-Day commemorations to do a television interview. Sunak, the last of five consecutive Conservative prime ministers since 2016, lasted just 18 months in office.

Labor has a number of challenges ahead now as it attempts to govern the country while the Conservatives suffered such a massive defeat, partly due to the rise of a far-right anti-immigrant populist party, Reform, led by Brexiteer-in. The head of government, Nigel Farage, who was eventually elected to Parliament, took a large share of the Conservative vote.

Also worrying for Labour, despite its huge majority, the party won a record proportion of the total popular vote, only around 35%. That suggests that, despite a strong desire for change and to give the Labor Party a chance, there is little general enthusiasm for Starmer.

Starmer now faces a challenge to meet the potential of his huge majority. Unlike when Blair came to power, the U.K. is facing a far more difficult economic outlook and ominous state finances, making fixing Britain’s struggling public services daunting.

Starmer, however, has acknowledged as much, saying throughout the campaign — and following his victory — that improvement will be slow and hard at first. He has promised to hit the ground running, pledging to cut short parliament’s summer recess to start work on his agenda, with Labour saying they will focus immediately on issues like housing, as well as confronting an urgent crisis of overcrowding in prisons.

The more modest promises reflect the more difficult realities Britain faces, but is also a marked change in tone from right wing populist forces rising elsewhere across Europe.


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