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Angela Rayner lavishes praise on Keir Starmer and Lord Mandelson gloats ‘election meteor has struck’ as they lead Labour joy at bombshell exit poll that predicts huge 170 majority – while big beast Tories most at risk of losing their seats are revealed

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Jubilant Labour gloated that an ‘electoral meteor’ has hit today after Keir Starmer was projected to get a huge majority.

Moments after ballot stations closed at 10pm, the dramatic exit poll was released – showing Sir Keir winning 410 of the 650 seats. That would be a majority of 170 – just short of the 179 achieved by Tony Blair.

The Tories are expected to be slashed from the 365 secured less than five years ago to just 131 – their worst performance in modern political history. A host of big beasts, from Jeremy Hunt to Grant Shapps and Penny Mordaunt could fall victim to the purge. 

In the first tangible evidence of the hammering, Labour’s Heidi Alexander took ex-Cabinet minister Robert Buckland’s Swindon South seat with a 9,000 majority. 

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems could get 61 MPs – and Nigel Farage’s Reform insurgents are predicted to have 13 after effectively leeching millions of votes from the Conservatives. 

That could include Mr Farage himself taking Clacton, while Conservative sources in Great Yarmouth confirmed they expected Reform to triumph there.

The SNP would be slashed to 10, meaning they would no longer be the biggest party in Scotland. 

Although the exit survey, run for broadcasters by polling guru Sir John Curtice, is not guaranteed to be exact, it has accurately reflected the outcome in the past few elections.

Sir Keir gave a muted reaction to the bombshell, posting on social media: ‘To everyone who has campaigned for Labour in this election, to everyone who voted for us and put their trust in our changed Labour Party – thank you.’ 

But his allies were far less restrained, with Lord Mandelson gloating that he was ‘gobsmacked’ and an ‘electoral meteor’ had ‘struck planet Earth’. He said it would have required a ‘superman’ to save the Tories and Rishi Sunak ‘is not superman’.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner – who could be set to become deputy PM within hours – said the numbers were ‘encouraging’ and praised Sir Keir’s leadership. 

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting was in tears as he was told the figures on live TV. 

Tories immediately descended into bitter recriminations, with demands for Rishi Sunak to quit.

A former Cabinet minister – who regards their own significant majority as under threat – said Mr Sunak had ‘knifed’ Boris Johnson and would be remembered as the ‘worst PM ever’. 

In other rollercoaster developments tonight:

  • In the first real result, Labour’s Bridget Phillipson retained Houghton & Sunderland South with a boosted majority of just over 7,000 – but Reform surged into second place with more than 11,600 votes;
  • Reform also picked up significant support in Blyth & Ashington, which narrowly lost the race to declare first, with nearly 11,000 votes, albeit behind Labour’s Ian Lavery on 20,000;  
  • Reform’s deputy leader Ben Habib hailed the estimates as a ‘victory for the nation state’; 
  • The 2024 general election results in full: Live maps and charts 

Sir Keir arrived with his wife Victoria to cast their votes this morning at a polling station in their Holborn and St Pancras constituency in north London

Sir Keir arrived with his wife Victoria to cast their votes this morning at a polling station in their Holborn and St Pancras constituency in north London

Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty arrived to cast their vote at Kirby Sigston Village Hall in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, this morning

Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty arrived to cast their vote at Kirby Sigston Village Hall in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, this morning

Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner said she was 'not counting her chickens' but suggested voters were punishing the Conservatives for their past 14 years in power

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said she was ‘not counting her chickens’ but suggested voters were punishing the Conservatives for their past 14 years in power

In the first real result, Labour's Bridget Phillipson (pictured) retained Houghton & Sunderland South with a boosted majority of just over 7,000 - but Reform surged into second place with more than 11,600 votes

In the first real result, Labour’s Bridget Phillipson (pictured) retained Houghton & Sunderland South with a boosted majority of just over 7,000 – but Reform surged into second place with more than 11,600 votes

Ballots being counted in Rishi Sunak's own Richmond & Northallerton constituency tonight

Ballots being counted in Rishi Sunak’s own Richmond & Northallerton constituency tonight

Sir Keir gave a muted reaction to the bombshell on social media

Sir Keir gave a muted reaction to the bombshell on social media

Mr Sunak gave a deadbat response to the blow, merely praising activists

Mr Sunak gave a deadbat response to the blow, merely praising activists

Less than an hour before the exit poll dropped, Downing Street released a dissolution honours list – sending seven Tories and eight Labour politicians to the Lords. They include Theresa May, Rishi Sunak’s chief aide Liam Booth-Smith, Chris Grayling and former 1922 committee chair Graham Brady.

Harriet Harman and Margaret Beckett are among those on the Labour list – despite Sir Keir having committed to abolishing the Upper House. 

A dire campaign for Mr Sunak came stuttering to a halt last night, with the PM making a series more defensive visits in the South East.

He now faces the prospect that he could be out of Downing Street by tomorrow morning, if the results pan out as badly as anticipated in the coming hours.

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson told Sky News that it looked like a ‘massacre’. 

A host of big beasts including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in Goldaming & Ash and Grant Shapps in Welwyn Hatfield will now be waiting nervously to see if they fall victim to the Labour and Lib Dem onslaught. 

There are fears those with the highest majorities could end up most vulnerable, with Home Secretary James Cleverly and even ex-PM Liz Truss thought to be at risk. 

The Tories could quickly plunge into a dangerous new phase of crisis, with questions over whether it can even survive amid the challenge from Reform. 

Sir John Curtice told the BBC: ‘It looks as though Reform may win more seats than many polls suggested.

‘This is largely because, not only has the Conservative vote fallen far in seats they previously held, but also because Reform has advanced most in areas people voted Leave in the 2016 EU referendum.

‘However, how many seats Reform will win is highly uncertain – our model suggests there are many places where they have some – but a relatively low – chance of winning.’

A Conservative spokesman said they had to wait for the full outcome, but added: ‘If these results are correct it is clear that Starmer and Angela Rayner will be in Downing Street tomorrow.’ 

Conservatives with big majorities had become increasingly nervous during the day, despite CCHQ claiming that higher-than-expected turnout could help them.

One former Cabinet minister told MailOnline: ‘There appears to be a bigger turnout than normal in some of my areas. Not all though.

‘That would seem to indicate a determination on the part of the electorate to make their views heard, almost certainly likely to be against the Tories.’

Mr Sunak took a huge political gamble and shocked Westminster by triggering the election on May 22, rather than waiting until the Autumn as had been widely expected.

Moments after ballot stations closed at 10pm, the dramatic exit poll was released - showing Sir Keir winning 410 of the 650 seats

Moments after ballot stations closed at 10pm, the dramatic exit poll was released – showing Sir Keir winning 410 of the 650 seats

It initially looked to be paying off, with early policies from the Tory campaign – such as national citizen service – seeming to cut through.

In a big moment, Mr Farage responded by ruling out standing as a Reform candidate, admitting he did not have time to put together a campaign.

But even then the Tories did not see a real bounce in the polls. The Tories lost key legislation including Mr Sunak’s flagship smoking ban during the ‘wash-up’ as Parliament was dissolved for the campaign.

And then a grim week in early June saw things go spectacularly downhill, with Mr Farage dropping the bombshell that had changed his mind and was taking over the leadership of Reform as well as standing to be MP for Clacton.

Although Mr Sunak was seen as landing blows on Sir Keir over tax during their first TV debate on June 4, disaster struck when the PM opted to return early from D-Day anniversary commemorations in France to conduct an interview with ITV.

A subsequent grovelling apology did not prevent Mr Farage and opponents seizing on the blunder, which struck right at the heart of the Tory goal of shoring up the core vote among older generations.

With polls already showing Reform eating into Tory support with potent attacks on immigration, Mr Sunak was then engulfed in another scandal.

It emerged that his closest Parliamentary aide, Craig Williams had successfully placed bets on the date of the snap election – although he insisted he did not have any inside information.

Other candidates and top party officials were then dragged into the allegations, which proved particularly toxic with the public. 

Mr Sunak was memorably challenged on the issue during TV appearances, admitting he was ‘incredibly angry’. But he was seen as taking far too long to withdraw support for candidates facing allegations.

Nigel Farage was seen driving through Clacton, the Essex seaside constituency where he is hoping to be elected the local MP, in an old military vehicle as he rallied the final support for his campaign

Nigel Farage was seen driving through Clacton, the Essex seaside constituency where he is hoping to be elected the local MP, in an old military vehicle as he rallied the final support for his campaign

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey and his wife Emily Gasson attended a polling station in Surbiton. He said: 'It's a beautiful day. I hope lots of people come out to vote'

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey and his wife Emily Gasson attended a polling station in Surbiton. He said: ‘It’s a beautiful day. I hope lots of people come out to vote’

With some polls even showing Reform ahead of the Tories, CCHQ shifted tactics to warn of the threat of a divided Right handing Labour a ‘supermajority’ with untrammeled power.

That together with controversial remarks from Mr Farage about the West ‘provoking’ Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and revelations about unsavoury comments by a series of Reform candidates looked to have stopped the bleeding.

But after a bruising six weeks Labour’s huge advantage was intact, and the only significant change was that the Tories had lost ground to Reform. 

By yesterday, despite Mr Sunak’s claim he was ‘fighting hard for every vote’, his close ally Mel Stride was effectively acknowledging the Conservatives would lose – an unprecedented step. 

The Work and Pensions Secretary said Labour would get an ‘extraordinary landslide on a scale that has probably never, ever been seen in this country before’. 

As tension built through election day, the Tories claimed a higher-than-expected turnout had left them with a ‘MUCH better chance’ than cataclysmic polls had suggested.

An email to Conservative supporters, signed from the ‘CCHQ Data Team’, read: ‘We’re getting reports from our teams on the ground. And the more reports we get, the more it looks like turnout is higher than expected.

‘That means we could have a MUCH better chance than polls have suggested. So if you haven’t voted yet, now’s the time to get out.’

Queues of people were seen at polling stations today as the requirement for voters to bring correct photo identification – such as a passport or driving licence – was enforced at a UK general election for the first time.

There was a bungle at a Glasgow polling station this morning as voters were met with posters listing the wrong instructions, which erroneously advised the ranking of candidates in order of preference.

This is how ballots are cast in local elections in Scotland, which use the single transferable vote system. But general elections use the first-past-the-post system, which requires voters to put a single ‘X’ next to their chosen candidate.

Glasgow City Council explained the error was spotted ‘very soon’ after the polling station opened at 7am and the posters were replaced with the correct information. It said no-one had been disenfranchised as voters’ first preferences would be used from the affected ballots.

Cabinet minister Kemi Badenoch this afternoon blasted her own local council for having ‘potentially disenfranchised’ thousands of postal voters who did not receive their ballot papers.

The Business Secretary hit out at Uttlesford District Council for ‘forgetting’ to send postal votes to 2,600 people in her North West Essex seat.

Prior to polls opening this morning, Rishi Sunak made an 11th-hour plea for voters to prevent a ‘socialist supermajority’ wrecking Britain, as he repeated his warning against handing Sir Keir ‘unchecked’ power. 

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn posted a picture of himself at a polling station in his Islington North constituency, where he is standing as an independent candidate against his old party

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn posted a picture of himself at a polling station in his Islington North constituency, where he is standing as an independent candidate against his old party



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