UK general election 2024: Exit poll points to Labour victory

Labour is set to win a general election landslide with a majority of 170, according to an exit poll for the BBC, ITV and Sky.

If the forecast is accurate, Sir Keir Starmer will become prime minister with 410 Labour MPs – just short of Tony Blair’s 1997 total.

The Conservatives are predicted to slump to 131 MPs, their lowest number ever.

The Liberal Democrats are projected to come third with 61 MPs.

The Scottish National Party will see its number of MPs fall to 10, while Reform UK is forecast to get 13 MPs, according to the exit poll.

The Green Party of England and Wales is predicted to double its number of MPs to two and Plaid Cymru is set to get four MPs. Others are forecast to get 19 seats.

The exit poll, overseen by Sir John Curtice and a team of statisticians, is based on data from voters at about 130 polling stations in England, Scotland and Wales. The poll does not cover Northern Ireland.

At the past five general elections, the exit poll has been accurate to within a range of 1.5 and 7.5 seats.

If the exit poll is correct it will be a remarkable turnaround for the Labour Party, which had its worst post-war election result in 2019.

The Conservatives may avoid the wipe-out predicted by some opinion polls but their predicted result will be a devastating blow for the party after 14 years in government.

The Tory losses are likely to have been inflicted by the resurgent Liberal Democrats and Nigel Farage’s Reform UK, which looks set to win more seats than many polls predicted.

We will have to wait until the early hours, when the bulk of results start rolling in, to see if the exit poll is accurate.

Scotland’s former first minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was « not a good night » for the SNP, which is predicted to lose 38 seats, adding that she believed the prediction would be « broadly right ».

Labour’s predicted landslide would be just short of the 179 majority won by Tony Blair in 1997 and the party may achieve it on a smaller share of the vote than former leader Jeremy Corbyn won in 2017, according to Sir John Curtice.

But it will be seen as a vindication of Sir Keir Starmer’s efforts to change his party and move it back to the centre ground of British politics.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner told the BBC Sir Keir had done a « tremendous job » of transforming the the party but added « the exit poll is a poll so we haven’t had any results yet ».

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: « It looks like this will be our best result for a generation. »

The Conservatives are on course for their worst election since 1906, when they got 156 seats.

Rishi Sunak had insisted he could still win right to the end despite failing to make a dent in Labour’s commanding opinion poll lead over the six-week campaign.

Conservative Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride told BBC Radio 4: « This is a very difficult moment for the Conservative Party. »

He says he is « very sorry » that the exit poll is projecting that a number of his colleagues will lose their seats. On keeping his own seat, he says « we will have to wait and see ».

On Wednesday – the day before the election – Mr Stride made headlines when he admitted he thought it was likely there would be a massive Labour majority, effectively conceding defeat.

Not an ‘existential catastrophe’ for the Conservatives

Tim Bale, a politics professor at Queen Mary University, says that while Labour’s predicted win was “very impressive,” the ruling Conservative party also did better than earlier opinion polls suggested.

“The Conservatives haven’t done quite as badly, it has to be said, as some of the polls during the campaign suggested. Some even suggested that it would go under 100 seats, it looks as if they’re going to pick up about 131…[but] it is a disaster for the Conservative Party but not an existential catastrophe,” Bale told Al Jazeera.

“I think they will be able to build back from this, how it will take for them to do this, however, is the big question”.

Bale added that the party has been in “chaos” since the Brexit referendum in 2016.

“None of the benefits the Conservatives so promised that would come about through Brexit have really materialised. So, I really couldn’t catch a nation if you like of circumstances which has led to this very, very bad result,” he said.

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