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Worst-ever result expected for Tories after exit poll

04 Jul 2024 4 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Photo Benjamin Cremel/PA Wire

The Conservative Party is poised for a record defeat, according to an exit poll predicting a Labour landslide.

The Tories, who have been in power since 2010, are set to be banished to the opposition benches of the House of Commons, with exit polling suggesting their numbers will be reduced to 131 seats, a loss of some 241 MPs.

This would be its lowest number of MPs on record.

In 2019, under then-premier Boris Johnson premiership the party won 365 seats, with majority of 80.

That total is now set to be dwarfed by the result expected for Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour by the end of the night, which is predicted to win power with a total of 410 seats according to the poll.

Upbeat

Rishi Sunak has sought to outwardly portray himself as upbeat, only arguing on Wednesday – the final day of campaigning – he was an “underdog” who was fighting until the “final whistle”.

But the exit poll, the final test of public opinion on the night of the election count, has now laid bare the scale of devastation the Tories face.

At risk of losing their seats this evening are several prominent Cabinet ministers, including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and Welsh Secretary David TC Davies.

Godalming and Ash, the constituency Mr Hunt is contesting, is 81% likely to go to the Lib Dems, while Mr Shapps is set to lose his Welwyn Hatfield seat to Labour with a 94% likelihood.

Justice Secretary Mr Chalk is all but certain to lose his Cheltenham constituency to the Lib Dems, though Ms Keegan’s Chichester seat is a possible Conservative hold, with an 85% likelihood.

Portsmouth North, where Labour is challenging Ms Mordaunt, is too close to call according to the pollsters.

The Welsh Secretary has conceded that he will lose in the new seat of Monmouthshire. He held the previous seat of Monmouth since 2005.

His was seen during the campaign as one of the few seats the Tories might retain. Mr Davies’ concession means that Wales could well become a Tory-free zone by the end of the night.

Speaking to the BBC, David TC Davies said: “On the basis of the exit poll, there isn’t a chance that I’ll be winning, which is disappointing. I’ve had great support from the local association, but the fact is, people wanted a change.

“That’s the way it goes into democracy. I’ll be the first to acknowledge there’s going to be a massive Labour victory and I certainly won’t be in parliament at the end of the evening.”

Worried

The Guardian newspaper has even reported Mr Sunak himself is privately worried about winning his Richmond and Northallerton constituency, though according to the exit poll he is 99% likely to win.

Ruth Davidson, the former leader of the Scottish Tories called the projected election result a “massacre”.

But she said the word coming out of Conservative central office earlier was that the Tories could be below three figures in terms of seats.

She told Sky News: “So actually 131 – while, there is no dressing it up, this is a massacre – they’ve actually, if this is right, pulled a few back from where they thought they were.”

In a final campaign message shortly ahead of the polls closing, Mr Sunak thanked his party activists for their work during the campaign.

On X, formerly Twitter, he wrote: “To the hundreds of Conservative candidates, thousands of volunteers and millions of voters:

“Thank you for your hard work, thank you for your support, and thank you for your vote.”

Ahead of the results coming in, the Government announced a string of high-profile Tories who will be ennobled, and head to the House of Lords as part of the dissolution honours list.

Former prime minister Theresa May and former minister Sir Chris Grayling were among those who will take their seats on the red benches of the upper chamber in the coming Parliament.


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Meg
Meg
15 days ago

Lost the leaver to the left of them, and the clowns to the right. And there they are, stuck in the middle with, well nothing really. Just Andrea Leadsome spectacularly missing the point and banging on about “all this woke stuff”.

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