Labour on course for Downing Street as exit poll predicts huge majority

Labour on course for Downing Street as exit poll predicts huge majority

The Labour Party stood on the verge of returning to power after 14 years in opposition as vote counting got underway on Thursday night.

Exit polls suggested a Labour landslide, with the party on course to scoop 410 seats and secure a majority of 170, just less than the majority of 179 won by Tony Blair in 1997.

While it may not be the majority of more than 200 predicted by some polls in the run-up to election day, it is still a stunning recovery from 2019, when Labour suffered its worst defeat since the 1930s and many commentators believed it would take at least a decade for the party to recover.

As polls closed at 10pm, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “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.”

The party stands to make gains across the Midlands and North, winning back seats in the “red wall” that it lost in 2019 and making deep incursions into traditional, Tory-held territory following a final-week blitz of more rural seats by Sir Keir Starmer.

It is also on course to make significant advances in Scotland, with exit polls suggesting the SNP have been reduced to just 10 seats.

But things may not all go Labour’s way. A close-fought battle in Islington North could see former leader Jeremy Corbyn, now an independent candidate, retain the seat, while shadow cabinet member Thangam Debbonaire could be at risk from the Greens in Bristol Central.

Early indications of the exit poll’s accuracy are expected to come at about 11.30pm on Thursday night, with veteran Labour MP Ian Lavery hoping to win a large majority in the new seat of Blyth and Ashington.

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson will then hope to build on her majority in Houghton and Sunderland South, with the result expected at about 11.45pm, while Basildon and Billericay at about 12.15am on Friday will provide an indication of how much progress the party has made in traditional Tory areas.

Conservative chairman Richard Holden is expected to cling on, having abandoned his North West Durham seat, but the party’s majority of more than 20,400 could be cut significantly.

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