World’s Winningest Party Loses in Spectacular Style


LONDON—The Conservatives, the world’s winningest political party, were booted out of power in dramatic style on Thursday after 14 years of chaotic and divisive rule.

The exit poll which dropped at 10 PM local time (5 PM EDT) showed that the Labour Party had secured a landslide victory ending an era of Conservative rule over Britain that stretches back to 2010, the year that the iPad and Instagram were launched and Lady Gaga wore that meat dress to the MTV music awards.

In that time, the Conservatives have cycled through five leaders each of them dragging the party lower and lower in the polls. It was Rishi Sunak who was finally defeated by a huge margin after running the worst election campaign in living memory.

Keir Starmer smiling

Keir Starmer arrives to vote on the morning of the election.

Jakub Porzycki / Getty

The campaign got off to a soggy start when the prime minister shocked the country—first by announcing a snap general election—and second by doing so standing outside No.10 in a torrential downpour which left his expensively tailored suit soaked through. His words were also drowned out by an old Labour election anthem being blasted into Downing Street by an enterprising protester.

Incredibly the campaign went downhill from there. Sunak blundered by leaving early from a D-Day memorial event in France where President Joe Biden and President Emmanuel Macron stood shoulder to shoulder to salute the final major anniversary likely to be attended by survivors of the Second World War. Voters were appalled despite Sunak’s apologies and the Nigel Farage was able to appeal to traditionalists and right-wing voters with his insurgent, MAGA-inspired, Reform party which helped to hollow out Conservative support. The exit poll suggested a major breakthrough for Farage’s party that could secure them 13 seats in parliament.

The poll predicted that Labour would win a whopping 410 seats (just eight shy of what Tony Blair won in 1997) and just 131 for the Conservatives, which would be the lowest in the party’s near 200-year history. Since it was founded in 1836, the Tories have become the most successful party in any competitive multi-party state in the world.

As the recriminations began within the Conservative Party, veteran lawmaker Michael Fabricant said: “Never in the history of general elections have so many been let down by so few.”

Oli Scarff / AFP via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak cast his vote on Thursday morning hoping to avoid losing his own seat.

OLI SCARFF

Britain’s new prime minister will be Sir Keir Starmer, the former head of Public Prosecutions, who has taken a cautious approach, which has been labeled the “Ming vase” strategy, as he tried to carry his delicately assembled coalition of voters over the finishing line.

After the party underperformed the polls in elections in 2017, 2010 and famously 1992, when everyone expected them to return to power, Starmer became just the fourth Labour leader to take his party from opposition into power in the century since it was founded.



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