From tension before the exit poll to a new PM: How the election unfolded

As the UK General Election delivered a landslide victory for Labour and installed Sir Keir Starmer as Prime Minister, here is how the night, and the morning after, unfolded.

– 10pm

Polling stations across the UK close.

An exit poll is published, predicting a Labour landslide with the party on course for 410 seats and the number of Conservative MPs reduced to a record low of 131.

It also forecasts the Liberal Democrats on 61 seats, Reform UK on 13 and the Green Party on two.

In Scotland, the SNP is expected to secure 10 seats, with Plaid Cymru in Wales on four.

A dog waits for its owner outside the polling station at Coulsdon Memorial Park, Croydon during voting in the 2024 General Election.
All UK polling stations closed at 10pm on Thursday (James Weech/PA)

– 11.14pm

The first constituency result is announced, with shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson holding Houghton and Sunderland South in Tyne and Wear.

She says in her victory speech: “Tonight the British people have spoken, and, if the exit poll this evening is again a guide to results across our country as it so often is, then after 14 years the British people have chosen change.”

– 12.15am

Former Conservative justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland loses his seat in Swindon South to Labour candidate Heidi Alexander, while a few minutes later Lee Anderson becomes Reform UK’s first elected MP after winning the seat in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.

– 2.40am

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey holds the seat of Kingston and Surbiton in London, following a stunt-packed campaign.

In his acceptance speech, Sir Ed says: “It has been a great privilege to serve Kingston and Surbiton and this great community over many years and I’m humbled that you’ve given me the chance to serve you again, so let me start by saying a big thank you.”

– 2.58am

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer holds his London seat of Holborn and St Pancras.

He said in his counting hall speech: “Tonight people here and around the country have spoken and they’re ready for change – to end the politics of performance and return to politics as public service.

“The change begins right here because this is your democracy, your community and your future. You have voted. It is now time for us to deliver.”

General Election 2024
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer gives a victory speech (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

– 3am to 4am 

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps loses to Labour in Welwyn Hatfield, while Justice Secretary Alex Chalk loses to the Liberal Democrats in Cheltenham.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn beats his old party to hold his seat in Islington North, where he has been the MP since 1983, and become an independent MP.

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn poses outside Islington Town Hall, north London, after handing in his nomination papers for the General Election on July 4.
Jeremy Corbyn has been MP for Islington North since 1983 (Lucy North/PA)

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage is elected in Clacton, winning a UK parliamentary seat at his eighth attempt.

Speaking in the Essex resort after his win, Mr Farage says his party’s performance in the General Election was “truly extraordinary”.

He adds: “There is a massive gap on the centre-right of British politics and my job is to fill it.”

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage gives a victory speech at Clacton Leisure Centre in Clacton after winning the Essex seat
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage won the seat of Clacton in his eighth attempt at becoming an MP (Joe Giddens/PA)

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan is beaten by Liberal Democrat candidate Jess Brown-Fuller in Chichester.

Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer beats Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire in Bristol Central in the party’s first victory in the election.

Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer after casting her vote in the 2024 General Election at Redland Park United Reformed Church in Bristol.
Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer has been elected as MP for Bristol Central (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Reform UK chairman Richard Tice wins in Boston and Skegness to become the party’s fourth MP.

– 4am to 5am

In the rush of results, ministers continue to lose their seats, including Penny Mordaunt, Leader of the House of Commons, who is beaten by Labour in Portsmouth North, while senior Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg loses his seat in North East Somerset and Hanham to Labour.

But Prime Minister Rishi Sunak holds his seat in Richmond and Northallerton.

Speaking after the result is announced, Mr Sunak says it has been a “difficult night” and that the Labour Party has won the General Election.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives at Northallerton Leisure Centre in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, during the count for the Richmond and Northallerton constituency
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak held his seat but conceded that Labour had won the election (Darren Staples/PA)

The Prime Minister says he takes “responsibility” for his party’s loss, has called Sir Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory, and will say more later in London.

– 5am

Labour wins the General Election after reaching the required 326 seats.

Sir Keir Starmer says “we did it” as he delivers a speech at a victory rally in central London to rapturous applause.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks to supporters at a watch party for the results of the 2024 General Election in central London
Labour won the General Election after reaching the required 326 seats (Jeff Moore/PA)

The Labour leader says: “We did it. You campaigned for it, you fought for it, you voted for it, and now it has arrived – change begins now.”

He adds that the UK will be waking up to “the sunlight of hope, pale at first but getting stronger through the day, shining once again”.

– 5.31am

The Tories lose all their MPs in Wales after Welsh Secretary David TC Davies loses his seat in Monmouthshire to Labour.

– 6am  to 7am

The Green Party completes a successful night as former co-leader Sian Berry wins Brighton Pavilion, securing the fourth of the party’s four target seats.

Sian Berry and Green Party supporters celebrate at the Portslade Sports Centre after winning the seat in the Brighton Pavilion constituency in the 2024 General Election
Sian Berry and Green Party supporters celebrate at the Portslade Sports Centre after she wins the Brighton Pavilion seat (Anahita Hossein-Pour/PA)

Transport Secretary Mark Harper is defeated by Labour in the Forest of Dean, and business and trade minister Greg Hands loses Chelsea and Fulham to Labour.

Home Secretary James Cleverly holds his seat in Braintree, Essex, and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt holds off a Lib Dem challenge in Godalming and Ash.

General Election 2024
Former prime minister Liz Truss lost to Labour in Norfolk South West (Jacob King/PA)

Former prime minister Liz Truss becomes the biggest scalp in the Tory bloodbath as she loses her Norfolk South West seat, where she had been defending a notional majority of more than 24,000, to Labour.

She declines to give a concession speech, but tells the BBC the Tories “haven’t delivered sufficiently on the policies people want” including curbing immigration.

In Northern Ireland, Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister defeats the DUP’s Ian Paisley in North Antrim, a seat held by a member of the Paisley family for more than 50 years.

– 10.26am 

With just two counts left to declare, the parties stand at 412 seats for Labour, while the Conservatives are on 121, and the Liberal Democrats have 71 MPs.

Both the Green Party and Reform have four seats each, while in Scotland the SNP has nine seats, and in Wales Plaid Cymru has secured four MPs.


In a speech in Downing Street before tendering his resignation to the King, Rishi Sunak addresses the nation, saying “I am sorry”, adding: “I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility”.

Rishi Sunak speaks at the lectern with the famous door of Number 10 behind him
Outgoing Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gives a speech in Downing Street following his party’s landslide election defeat (James Manning/PA)

He also announces he will step down as Tory leader following the General Election defeat once formal arrangements for a successor have taken place.

– 10.51am

Rishi Sunak arrives at Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation as Prime Minister to the King.

– 12.18pm

Sir Keir Starmer becomes Prime Minister after an audience with the King, having arrived at Buckingham Palace 10 minutes earlier.

Sir Keir Starmer shakes hands with the King in a richly decorated room while an official looks on
The King welcomes Sir Keir Starmer during an audience at Buckingham Palace (Yui Mok/PA)

– 12.46pm

In his first speech to the nation from Downing Steet, Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer says: “My Government will serve you, politics can be a force for good.

“The work of change begins immediately, but have no doubt, we will rebuild Britain,” he says, concluding: “Our work is urgent and we begin it today.”