UK election: Labour Party wins in landslide, Starmer to become next PM

The UK's largest opposition Labour Party has secured a landslide victory in the general election, ousting the Conservatives from power for the first time in 14 years.

British public broadcaster BBC says the Labour Party has won more than 400 seats in the House of Commons. That's far exceeding a majority and nearly double the party's pre-election level of 206 seats.

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is set to become the next UK prime minister.

The ruling Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has secured around 120 seats, losing more than 200. Party members who lost their seats include former Prime Minister Liz Truss, Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan.

4th prime minister in under two years

Starmer will become the fourth prime minister in under two years.

The BBC said that the new government will confront the same problems that caused its predecessor so much trouble, including "the cost of living, the government's finances, the tax burden and a dangerous world."

The economy, public medical services and immigration issues were major points of contention during the election campaign. The Conservative Party struggled to gain support after a series of scandals by the administration came to light.

The UK Parliament

Starmer: Change begins now

"We did it! You campaigned for it, you fought for it, you voted for it, and now it has arrived. Change begins now," Starmer told supporters after his party won the national election.

"We start the next chapter, begin the work of change, the mission of national renewal, and start to rebuild our country," he said.

Keir Starmer speaking to supporters after his party won the general election.

PM Sunak concedes

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he called Starmer and congratulated him on his victory.

Speaking to supporters, he said, "There is much to learn and reflect on, and I take responsibility for the loss to the many good, hardworking, Conservative candidates who lost tonight."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak conceded his party's defeat.

UK's Labour Party

The Labour Party was established in 1900 at a time when the weight of social class remained strong. It took office for the first time in 1924 and has served as one of two major parties, the other being the Conservative Party.

After World War Two, the party created a "cradle to the grave" social security system and held power for several years at a time in the 1960s and 1970s. But public support waned amid growing criticism of repeated strikes by labor unions.

In 1997 the party won a general election by a landslide under the leadership of Tony Blair, who pledged a balance between the free economy and welfare policies. "New Labor, New Britain" was its slogan.

It then held power until losing the 2010 general election.

Labour faces uphill battle

NHK World correspondent Ohba Yuki speaking on Asia 24.

The commentary below is by NHK World correspondent Ohba Yuki.

For many, voting Labour was actually a vote against the Conservative Party, also known as the Tories. Many went into this election disappointed, saying the Tories didn't improve people's lives.

But Labour is now facing an uphill battle. They have put economic growth at the center of their platform. That, however, may be easier said than done, considering the UK's current financial situation. And there's no guarantee that people will be patient. Their support could be short-lived ― if they don't produce results fast.

The Labour Party have namely promised to make people's lives easier. Again, the question is whether they will actually manage to get it done.

Firstly, they have promised to reinforce the national health care system, the NHS. Many voters said they were waiting weeks, or sometimes even months, for an appointment.

They have also mentioned tackling illegal migration. They will scrap the Government's plan to deport immigrants crossing the Channel to Rwanda. Instead, they'll build a Border Security Command to crack down on people smugglers.

And they emphasized how they want to reshape Britain's relationship with the European Union. The Conservatives led the charge on Brexit ― and as a result, the UK left the EU back in 2020.

Labour says they don't plan to rejoin. But they are hoping to simplify trade procedures with the EU for small and medium-sized companies. Encouraging investment has become a big part of their plan ― to kick-start the British economy.

Foreign policy, especially how London approaches issues in Asia, probably won't change. The Tory government called the Indo-Pacific region, including the Japan-UK relationship, "a permanent pillar" of British foreign policy, and the Labour Government will probably follow suit.

David Lammy, who is likely to be the next foreign secretary, said prior to the general election that the relationship with Japan is hugely important. He also said he is aware of the challenges Japan faces regarding neighboring countries.

It shows the new Labour government under Keir Starmer will also place importance on cooperating with Japan as it tackles certain security issues, namely China and North Korea.