Clear Call for Change: How Labour won a 211-seat majority and what comes next for the Conservative Party

Lord Dolar Popat Wednesday 10th July 2024 08:05 EDT

On 4th July 2024, the General Election took place and saw Labour win a 211-seat majority after 14 years of Conservatives being in power. Sir Keir Starmer became the Prime Minister and within hours he appointed his cabinet hitting the ground running after spending months preparing for office.

This election can be summed up by the Labour Party’s slogan: Change. The country was fed up with the Conservative Party and the issues caused during Boris Johnson’s premiership. The lack of leadership and having 5 Prime Minister’s within the space of 8 years. People voted tactically against the Conservatives which saw Labour win 412 seats and Liberal Democrats win 72 seats. However, it is worth pointing out that it wasn’t a pro-Labour vote as some are suggesting. In 2019, the Conservatives won 43.6% of the votes compared to Labour winning only 34 % of the votes in 2024.

One of the other factors that played a role in this election was Nigel Farage coming back to lead Reform UK. Reform UK managed to win 14 % of the vote and win 5 seats including Clacton which saw a 45% swing away from Conservatives. Reform gave traditional conservative voters who had become frustrated with the party, an opportunity to vote elsewhere. Unfortunately, this resulted in the right-wing vote being split in more than 50 constituencies where Conservatives could have won.

Part of the post-election reflection will have to include a look at how we can win back these voters whilst also not lurching to the right and losing the middle ground.

As a former businessman, I can’t help but draw parallels between politics and business. If a company was run like the UK has been over the last few years, then shareholders would call for change. Whilst Rishi took some steps to correct several issues, he did not go far enough to restore trust and give people the confidence that the issues weren’t part of who Conservatives are.

The Cabinet will be settling in and starting to work on the issues they promised in their manifesto. There are difficult decisions to be made including the prison capacity crises, junior doctor strikes and global conflicts.

As the Conservative Party, we will be looking for a new leader in the coming weeks and months to challenge Sir Keir and his decisions. There are several individuals including Suella Braverman, Robert Jenrick, James Cleverly, Tom Tugendhat, Priti Patel and Victoria Atkins are potentially in the running. I agree with those who argue for a longer leadership election because as a party it is time for reflection. There are some things we got right over the last 14 years including during the recent election but also many things we got wrong which we need to learn from.

The Conservative Party is the most successful party in terms of the number of elections it has won over the last 50 years. This has been as a result of being pragmatic, open to change and ready to tackle issues head on. When we lose this, we lose elections. Therefore, it is crucial we take a pragmatic approach to our leadership election, focusing on the issues we need to tackle and be open to changing what we do to ensure a victory in 2029. 

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