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4 July 2024updated 05 Jul 2024 1:04am

Exit poll: Labour are heading for a landslide

According to these figures, the parliamentary inertia of the past decade is over.

By Freddie Hayward

Labour is on course to return to government for the first time in 14 years. The exit poll predicts the party will win 410 seats, with the Conservatives on 131 seats , the Liberal Democrats on 61 seats, Reform on 13 seats and the SNP on 10 seats. This would hand Labour a majority of 170, slightly short of Tony Blair’s 179 majority in 1997.

Such a large majority will give Keir Starmer complete control over the House of Commons. There will be no need to bring the Lib Dems into a coalition as the Conservatives did in 2010, nor will Starmer suffer the inertia David Cameron and Theresa May experienced with small majorities. This result would hand Starmer a parliamentary majority which would allow him to pass legislation at will. The parliamentary gridlock which has defined politics since 2016 would be over. Starmer will be heralded as the first Labour leader since Tony Blair to haul the party out of opposition and into government.

This is perhaps the first time that Labour’s election team will allow themselves to celebrate. Starmer, on these figures, will be heading to Buckingham Palace in the morning to be asked to form a government by the King, after which he will head to Downing Street as prime minister.

The SNP face losing a stream of seats, taking their total down to just 10. They would drop from the third-largest party in Parliament to the fifth-largest, a body blow to their hopes for a second referendum over the next parliament. Labour will once again be the biggest party in Scotland, a totemic victory for a party that was wiped out north of the border in 2015.

Reform, meanwhile, are projected to get 13 seats, way above the low single figures they were predicted to get at the start of the campaign. This is a bad omen for the Conservative Party that is facing an insurgency on its right.

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But we will have to wait for the actual results. We can expect the first to drop at around 11.30 with a large tranche coming between 2am and 4am. It’s important to remember that this is a mere poll. The exit poll is a statistical analysis of the answers voters provide outside polling stations throughout the day, paid for by the BBC, Sky News and ITV. Since a methodological change in the early 2000s, it has accurately predicted the final result to within a few seats. In the past five elections, it has been accurate to an average of four seats.

Let’s see whether the result bears out over the night. For now, Labour is heading for government.

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