Sir John Curtice: The dramatic Tory decline behind Labour's landslide

Potrait of Sir John Curtice, smiling with grey hair and metal-framed glasses, wearing a suit and tie. He has the colours of Election 2024 beh

Labour are heading towards a landslide victory, winning previously safe Tory seats across the country. Their gains are largely on the back of a dramatic decline of 21 points in Conservative support.

Labour's own vote is expected to be up by just under two points across the country. This is entirely as a result of a 19 point increase in support in Scotland.

In Wales, the party's vote has actually fallen back by four points, while in England the party's vote is largely unchanged from 2019.

On the basis of the results declared so far, it is possible that Labour will secure its landslide on a lower share of the vote than any of Tony Blair's victories, including the 36% the party won in 2005. That itself was hitherto the lowest share of the vote won by a majority single party government.

In many ways, this looks more like an election the Conservatives have lost than one Labour have won.

According to current forecasts, this will be the worst Conservative result in terms of seat numbers in history. It will also be the highest Lib Dem tally since 1923.

Some of the seats the Conservatives have lost tonight are ones that the party has not lost in any post-war British election. These include:

  • Aldershot - Conservative since 1918

  • Altringham - 1924

  • Chichester - 1924

  • Dorking - 1885

  • Tunbridge Wells - 1931

Some of the Tory losses tonight are thus just as spectacular as Labour's “red wall” losses in 2019.

Conservative support fell most heavily in seats they were trying to defend. This is primarily the result of a large increase in Reform's support, especially in places where there was a high Leave vote in 2016.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives' difficulties have been compounded by the fact Labour's vote has increased by five points in seats where the party started second to the Conservatives, far better than elsewhere (outside of Scotland).

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems have increased their vote by seven points where they started second to the Conservatives, when across the country their vote has flatlined.

Reform themselves have found it difficult to convert votes into seats and the party is currently expected to win no more than four seats, including Nigel Farage in Clacton.

The SNP have suffered a serious drubbing. Their share of the vote is down 16 points, while Labour's is up by 20 in Scotland. It now looks as though the SNP will win no more than eight seats by the end of the night.

The Greens have recorded their best general election performance yet, and will likely win 7% of the vote. However, they may do no more than double the one seat they already had.

Notably, turnout is well down compared to recent elections. At the moment, it looks as though it could fall to 60%, which would be the lowest since 2001. It has been falling most in seats where Labour are strongest.

Labour have performed notably badly in seats with large numbers of Muslim voters. The party's vote is down on average by 10 points in seats where more than 10% of the population identify as Muslim. Their losses have often been inflicted by the Greens and independent candidates, the latter often campaigning on pro-Gaza platforms.

This pattern has cost the party both Leicester East to the Conservatives and Leicester South to an independent candidate. Finally, in a remarkable individual performance, Jeremy Corbyn retained his Islington North seat as an independent.

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