The exit poll predicts Labour landslide victory

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer making a speech during a visit to Redditch, Worcestershire
-Credit: (Image: Jacob King/PA)

Voter polls suggest Labour is on course to secure a big majority in the House of Commons and form the next government. Sir Keir Starmer is on course for Downing Street as exit polls indicated his Labour Party will sweep to power in a landslide victory.

The Labour leader will become Prime Minister on Friday with a commanding majority in Parliament, the exit poll for broadcasters suggested, PA media reports. Rishi Sunak’s term as PM looks set to end in electoral disaster, with the Conservatives forecast to endure heavy losses.

It marks a dramatic turnaround since the 2019 general election, when Boris Johnson won the Tories a healthy 80-seat majority and Jeremy Corbyn led Labour to its worst result since 1935. The exit poll suggests Labour is on course for 410 seats, with the Tories reduced to 131.

It will mean a Labour prime minister in No 10 for the first time in 2010 and the Conservatives facing a possible civil war as the fight for the future direction of the party and the battle to potentially replace Mr Sunak gets under way.

The exit poll in each of the past few elections has produced a very accurate projection of the actual result, PA media reports. These take place at polling stations across the country, with tens of thousands of people asked to privately fill in a replica ballot as they leave, to get an indication of how they voted.

Some of the key battlegrounds in the 2024 General Election are here in the South West and the nation’s eyes will be on some high-profile seats and some vulnerable sitting MPs. We and our sister titles have rolling coverage throughout the night, including live updates from our reporters at all of the counts in key constituencies.

They include of course Jacob Rees-Mogg , who could face losing his North East Somerset and Hanham seat to Labour’s candidate, the Metro Mayor for the West of England Dan Norris. Mr Rees-Mogg’s long-serving colleague Sir Liam Fox and his neighbouring North Somerset constituency is also polling as a close-run contest with Labour.

Earlier this week, Labour were predicted to gain as many as ten seats from the Conservatives across the South West as a whole, and the Liberal Democrats as many as six, in what was being touted as a bloodbath for Rishi Sunak’s party.

However, despite the polls, Labour are not in for an easy night everywhere.

All eyes will be on Bristol Central , where Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire faces a strong challenge from the Green Party. The Greens took effective control of Bristol City Council in May and the party’s national co-leader Carla Denyer is standing in what is expected to be a tight contest.

And Reform UK are likely to make some headlines of their own, albeit headlines short of actually winning a seat. Polling experts have them as finishing second - above the Conservatives - in several safe Labour seats including Bristol North West, Bristol East, Bristol South and Bristol North East.

But the night is likely to be dominated by the high-profile Tories tipped to lose their seats. Several current Government ministers are facing strong challenges across the South West.

Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer has been embroiled in a bitter campaign with Labour challenger Fred Thomas in Plymouth Moor View, a seat that was looking too close to call in the lead-up to polling day.

In Gloucestershire, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk could be unseated by Liberal Democrat candidate Max Wilkinson in Cheltenham, while Transport Secretary Mark Harper will be hoping to cling on to a majority in the Forest of Dean. Labour are also hoping to claim Tory-held seats in Gloucester and Stroud .

In Devon , Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride’s Central Devon seat, which Labour have been targeting, is one to watch.

Meanwhile, in Cornwall, which returned a clean sweep of Conservative MPs in 2019, it is a three-way fight.

Former Environment Secretary George Eustice is not standing in Camborne and Redruth , but his would-be successor is far from guaranteed a spot in the Commons. Indeed it is one of three seats Labour will be hoping to take in the county - the others being St Austell and Newquay and Truro and Falmouth.

In the most westerly seat of all, St Ives , incumbent Derek Thomas looks vulnerable to the well-known Andrew George, who served as the Liberal Democrat MP for the area between 1997 and 2015.

The Liberal Democrats also are targeting two Tory-held seats on the Somerset and Devon border; both the Taunton and Wellington constituency and the Tiverton and Minehead seat are worth keeping an eye on. Ed Davey’s party also has high hopes for the Honiton and Sidmouth seat and could run the Conservatives’ Anthony Mangnall close in South Devon.