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UK Elections: Comments on Poll Results

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The British people voted for change, a historic defeat for the Conservative Party – this is how the poll results of the election to the House of Commons in the UK are being commented on. The centre-left Labour Party is on course to win 310 of the 650 seats in the British parliament, a stunning reversal of fortune from five years ago, when the party achieved its worst result since 1935.

Keir Starmer will become Britain's next prime minister on Friday, with his Labour Party set to win a huge majority in elections to the House of Commons – it results from survey exit poll. The Conservatives under Rishi Sunak will suffer historic losses.

“If what we have seen so far is confirmed, then it is clear that the British people voted for change,” said Labour MP Rachel Reeves, who is set to become Britain's first female finance minister.

“After 14 years, people will wake up to the prospect of a new government: the first Labour victory in almost two decades. A new chapter has begun, a chance to look to a brighter future that for so long seemed so distant,” she added.

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The British people have chosen the Labour PartyJON ROWLEY/PAP/EPA

Historic defeat for the Conservative Party

“If the exit poll is confirmed, it will be a historic defeat for the Conservative Party,” Keiran Pedley, research director at Ipsos, the pollster that conducted the poll, told Reuters.

“It looked like the Conservatives were going to be in power for 10 years, but it all fell apart,” he added.

Poll results confirmed that Labour and the Liberal Democrats were taking seats from the Conservatives, while Reform UK pushed the Conservative Party into third place in a number of areas.

“Reform UK has clearly done well and I know some of my colleagues will react by saying we should move further to the right,” one Conservative MP, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. “But Labour won this election in the centre and we need to remember that lesson.”

Sunak 'the face of decline'

It was not just the Conservatives who were predicted to lose the election. The pro-independence Scottish National Party was predicted to win just 10 seats, its worst result since 2010, after a period of turmoil that saw two leaders resign in just over a year.

Commentators said the Conservative Party's poor performance was partly due to Liz Truss's disastrous six-week presidency, which followed the departure of Boris Johnson at the end of 2022, while Rishi Sunak was unable to make any impact on Labour's dominant lead in the polls.

“We deserved to lose. The Conservative Party just seems exhausted and out of ideas,” Ed Costello, chairman of the Grassroots Conservatives, told Reuters.

“But it's not all Rishi Sunak's fault. It was Boris Johnson and Liz Truss who led the party to disaster. Rishi Sunak has become the face of the fall,” he added.

“The electoral mountain that Labour has had to climb is bigger than the one that Tony Blair had to climb,” says Peter Sloman, professor of politics at the University of Cambridge.

Main image source: JON ROWLEY/PAP/EPA

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