Political landscape shifts: Sunak’s struggles and Starmer’s transformation

Political landscape shifts Sunak's struggles and Starmer's transformation
credit: ft

London (Parliament News) – Polling stations are now open across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, with results expected in the early hours of Friday.

Keir Starmer, PM Rishi Sunak and Ed Davey have cast their votes as voters across the UK head to the ballots in a general election that is anticipated to produce the first Labour administration in 14 years.

The Labour boss and his wife, Victoria, seemed to have a spring in their step, smiling, as they made the short travel on foot from their home to vote in the Holborn and St Pancras constituency.

The PM, who has been advised to stay on as Tory leader irrespective of how poorly the Conservatives lose, was also bound by his wife, Akshata Murty, arriving at their Richmond polling station in a Range Rover.

It comes as polling places in 650 constituencies across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland unlocked at 7 am. Counting will begin instantly after they close at 10 pm, with results reported in the early hours of Friday morning.

How Has Starmer Transformed Labour Since 2020?

Speaking as the polls unlocked, Starmer, stated: “Change. Today, you can vote for it.” Sunak posted a series of messages on the same site that urged voters to “stop the Labour supermajority”, which he claimed “would mean higher taxes for a generation”.

The competition closes six weeks of campaigning after a five-year term in which the UK has had three Conservative PMs. Labour has preserved its 20-point lead in view polls for the entirety of the election campaign and is expecting to make huge gains across England, Wales and Scotland. A YouGov poll posted on Wednesday night said Starmer’s party was on track to succeed its largest majority in modern history.

Has Rishi Sunak Turned Around Conservative Fortunes?

Senior Tories including one of Sunak’s nearest cabinet allies were effectively admitting defeat on Wednesday. Starmer blamed the Conservatives for trying to suppress voter turnout by offering the election result as a done deal. Labour is pursuing election on a platform of change, and has promised to build a new publicly owned energy business, nationalise the railways, cut net migration, draft 6,500 teachers and build more than 100,000 new nursery places.

The Conservatives have pledged to introduce compulsory national service for 18-year-olds, introduce an annual hat on migrant visas, recruit 8,000 police officers and carve a further 2p off national insurance to cancel it. It would mark an exceptional turnaround from the last election, held in December 2019, when Boris Johnson beat Jeremy Corbyn to win an 80-seat prevalence for the Conservatives. His drive was centred on the promise to “get Brexit done”.

Sunak, who was beaten by Truss in the 2022 Conservative leadership battle, took over but has failed to shift the Conservatives’ fortunes around. Starmer has been in post since April 2020 and has brought about a surprising and ruthless transformation of his party during that time. He discontinued Corbyn, in whose shadow cabinet he suited, who is pursuing election as an independent candidate in Islington North. Several of the more diminutive parties – the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Reform UK – are launched to perform well in this election.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.