So Labour are winning in the UK. But what else is happening?

Credit: Labour Party Copyright: Labour Party

The 2019 UK Election feels a world away for all that has happened since. Brexit “got done” and the UK has charted a path unknown. We have had COVID and its impact on the public finances. We have had the shock of war in Ukraine on international trade. We had the death of Queen Elizabeth II. And most crucially, we had the economic fallout of the brief Truss Premiership. Unsurprisingly, much of this upheaval has dented support of the governments of Johnson, Truss, and Sunak. Also mired by successive scandals, the public view them largely responsible for issues the country is facing.

With the Conservative Party over 20% behind in the polls and an insurgent Reform UK led by Nigel Farage of Brexit notoriety on their tail for the right-wing vote, a change of government is likely. But many are wondering what we will happen exactly. So, describing the issues of the election and the nature of our voting system, here is my take: Labour will win the election. They will win a comfortable majority of seats and Keir Starmer will be the next Prime Minister. After the wipeout of 2019, under the leadership of the left-wing Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Keir Starmer has transformed his party driving it to the centre and winning he endorsement of much of the British establishment for his reforms and economic plans. But the election will not be that clear cut.

With the Conservatives staring down an inevitable period in the “wilderness”, it is not just Labour’s strength that is causing this. Under our “First Past the Post” voting system, there is a significant winner’s bonus to the result. So, with a rising Reform UK taking around 13% of the national vote, disproportionately from former Conservative voters, this spilt in the vote unlocks many more seats for Labour. It would therefore not be unlikely for Labour to win over 400 seats on 40% of the vote. The reasons why Labour will win are clear cut in that it is a vote for change by the electorate, so I will not dwell too much on that.

But… on another front for the Conservatives are the Liberal Democrats. Previously, the party has stretched its ambitions and resources too wide and lost seats as a result. It has also struggled to recover from its period in government with Conservatives, and its electoral thrashing from 57 seats to just 8, now up to 15. As a result of that, it has been laser focused on a select number of Conservative held seats where they are in a strong second place with a campaign focusing on public services and environmental issues in the hope of winning over disaffected former Conservative voters to take them over the line along with a tactically voting alliance of progressive voters. This could, according to projections, give them around 50 seats or more. Although the party is refusing to buy into hype as before, instead managing its expectations.

The significant role of the Lib Dems in this election is that while Labour can convincingly remove the Conservatives from power, substantial Lib Dem gains could take them below 100 seats, or as some projections suggest, the Lib Dems could shockingly become the Official Opposition though this is in my view unlikely. More shockingly, the Lib Dems have only had a poll rating of around 11-13%, but its concentrated. The Reform UK vote is more constant across the UK. They may win a small number of seats, but their evident role in this election is to be an evident disrupter as they split the right-wing vote, increasing the number of seats won by Labour and the Lib Dems.

There could be some surprises or results that buck the trend. Farage could win in Clacton. The Green Party could beat Labour in Bristol Central. Jeremy Corbyn may hold Islington North as an independent despite a challenge from the Labour Party he once led. The Lib Dems might win their only Labour facing competitive race in Sheffield Hallam. Labour are also expecting strong challenges from left wing independents in cities due to their response to events in Gaza. But one thing is clear: this election will be interesting, momentous, and politically seismic.

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