General Election exit poll forecasts Tories' worst-ever result

Rishi Sunak is set to lose
-Credit: (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

An exit poll predicting a Labour landslide has forecast a record defeat for the Conservative Party. The Tories, who have been in power since 2010, are set to be banished to the opposition benches of the House of Commons, with exit polling suggesting their numbers will be reduced to 131 seats, a loss of some 241 MPs.

This would be its lowest number of MPs on record. In 2019, under then-premier Boris Johnson premiership the party won 365 seats, with majority of 80.

That total is now set to be dwarfed by the result expected for Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour by the end of the night, which is predicted to win power with a total of 410 seats according to the poll. Rishi Sunak has sought to outwardly portray himself as upbeat, only arguing on Wednesday – the final day of campaigning – he was an “underdog” who was fighting until the “final whistle”.

But the exit poll, the final test of public opinion on the night of the election count, has now laid bare the scale of devastation the Tories face. At risk of losing their seats this evening are several prominent Cabinet ministers, including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan.

The Guardian newspaper has even reported Mr Sunak himself is privately worried about winning his Richmond and Northallerton constituency. Ruth Davidson, the former leader of the Scottish Tories called the projected election result a “massacre”.

But she said the word coming out of Conservative central office earlier was that the Tories could be below three figures in terms of seats.

She told Sky News: “So actually 131 – while, there is no dressing it up, this is a massacre – they’ve actually, if this is right, pulled a few back from where they thought they were.”

In a final campaign message shortly ahead of the polls closing, Mr Sunak thanked his party activists for their work during the campaign.

On X, formerly Twitter, he wrote: “To the hundreds of Conservative candidates, thousands of volunteers and millions of voters: Thank you for your hard work, thank you for your support, and thank you for your vote.”

Ahead of the results coming in, the Government announced a string of high-profile Tories who will be ennobled, and head to the House of Lords as part of the dissolution honours list. Former prime minister Theresa May and former minister Sir Chris Grayling were among those who will take their seats on the red benches of the upper chamber in the coming Parliament.