This was one of the most remarkable collapses for a political party in our history (2024)

The 2024 election has shattered records.

Labour has won a landslide victory, reversing its heavy defeat less than five years ago.

Its final majority will come close to Tony Blair's achievement of 1997, surpassing the landslides achieved by Clement Attlee in 1945 and Margaret Thatcher in 1983.

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A remarkable feature of its win is that its national vote share has barely moved from its 2019 level.

Despite this, the national swing from Conservative to Labour - over 11 percentage points - breaks Blair's 10.3 record set in 1997 and is more than double the 5.3-point swing Thatcher achieved in 1979.

Labour's small increase in national vote share and yet the largest swing points to the fact that it has benefitted from one of the most remarkable collapses for a political party in our electoral history.

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There has been a 20-point drop in the Conservative national vote - shattering the previous post-war record established by the Liberal Democrats in 2015 after its painful crash out of the coalition.

The Conservative Party's national vote - likely to be 23% - means that fewer one in four supported it in 2024 compared with more than four in ten in 2019.

This is the first time in the modern era that it has fallen below 30%.

Its woeful performance can also be measured by the failure of 26 of its candidates to save their deposits by polling less than 5% of the constituency vote.

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A record procession of 12 cabinet ministers along with some attending cabinet have been defeated - four falling to Labour, five to the Liberal Democrats and one to Plaid Cymru.

Live declarations captured the moment as Grant Shapps, Penny Mordaunt, Gillian Keegan saw the end - not just of their careers in government - but in parliament too.

One of the surprise results of the night was the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, holding on to his Godalming and Ash constituency.

And then, almost at the end of a most incredible night, it was the turn of former prime minister Liz Truss, to lose her seat by a margin of just over 600 votes.

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By a strange twist of fate, she suffered the same fate as befell Sir Arthur Balfour at the previous worst election for the Conservatives in 1906.

After making an ill-fated decision to resign and invite the Liberal opposition to form a government, he lost his own seat in Manchester.

In his case he returned to parliament a month later for another constituency, something Truss is highly unlikely to emulate.

Much of this carnage inflicted on the Conservatives came about because of Reform's decision to challenge them this time having given them a clear run in 2019.

Farage's party is unlikely to win more than a handful of seats to accompany him to Westminster, but the damage done in taking votes off the Conservatives largely explains the huge losses for Sunak's party.

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Many of Labour gains came about simply because the Conservative vote was washed away by Reform, leaving Labour candidates occupying the high ground.

Reform's national vote share of about 14% puts it in third place, ahead of the Liberal Democrats on about 12%.

But the two parties had vastly different experiences in respect of the reward in seats.

Whereas Reform has underperformed the 13 seats forecast by the exit poll, the Liberal Democrats have exceeded theirs.

Forecast to reach 61 seats, the final tally will be at least 10 more than this.

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Who won the popular vote?

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Just under a million votes were required to elect each Reform MP, half a million for the Greens - who have now won a record four seats - but under 50,000 votes for their Lib Dem equivalents.

These statistics point to a rather harsh lesson for Reform and highlights the extreme efficiency of the Liberal Democrat vote.

Sir Ed Davey's party recovered in parts of the country where it had MPs elected in 2010 only to lose most of them at the subsequent election.

This appears to be part of the party's targeted campaigning allied with some clear tactical voting from Labour voters.

Once again, the story from Scotland has played a prominent role in the overall election narrative.

With some seats still to declare, the SNP has lost 38 of its starting total of 48 seats.

Labour's gain of 36 seats there makes it the largest party, thereby contributing a significant cohort of the national party's complement of new MPs.

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A record number of candidates contested this election, and this is reflected in the highly fragmented vote in many constituencies.

The consequence of this has been that many winning candidates about to be sworn into the new House of Commons owe their success to low vote shares.

Remarkably, when Labour's Terry Jermy defeated Truss in South West Norfolk, he won with a mere 26.5% of the constituency vote.

Another nine MPs have under 30% - including the Conservative Party chair, Richard Holden, returned for Basildon and Billericay after polling just 29.9% of the vote.

This was one of the most remarkable collapses for a political party in our history (12)

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Almost 100 of the 650 MPs will have been elected with a vote share of 35% or less.

It is rare for candidates standing as independents to succeed but this election has seen five, which includes the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who wreaked his revenge on his former party by retaining his Islington North seat.

There were a further three seats with relatively large Muslim populations whose result was determined by the Gaza issue and brought defeat for Labour.

This was one of the most remarkable collapses for a political party in our history (2024)

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