Rishi Sunak at the Conservative Party conference

Conservatives lose major seats in general election annihilation

The Conservatives have had the worst general election result in the history of the party, with a slew of former and present cabinet ministers and household Tory names losing their seats. 

With two seats still to count, they are currently projected to get under 24% of the vote, and just 121 seats.

The biggest Portillo moment of the night came when former Prime Minister Liz Truss lost her previously safe seat of South West Norfolk to Labour’s Terry Jermy.

Truss was Prime Minister for just 49 days in 2022, and oversaw the Tory mini-budget which caused financial panic, ousting her as PM and tanking the Conservative polling on an irrecoverable scale.

Departing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak did retain his seat of Richmond and Northallerton, despite doubt from some pollsters.  

Sunak said: “The Labour Party has won this general election, and I have called Sir Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory.

“The British people have delivered a sober verdict tonight, there is much to learn and reflect on, and I take responsibility for the loss. 

“To the many good hard working Conservative candidates who have lost tonight, despite their tireless efforts, their local records of delivery, and their dedication to their community, I am sorry.” 

The night has seen eight current cabinet ministers and another four senior ministers lose their seats. 

Alex Chalk, the former Justice Secretary, was the first casualty of the night, losing Cheltenham to the Liberal Democrats by 7210 votes. 

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan were high-profile names to have lost their seats.

Keegan walked off the stage as her Liberal Democrat opponent, Jess Brown Fuller, gave her acceptance speech.

Shapps said: “I want to pay tribute to the selfless courage of the men and women who served in our armed forces.

“I am extremely concerned that unless we quickly commit to spending 2.5% in GDP on defence, our armed forces may suffer, and so will our friends in Ukraine.”  

Former leadership contender and leader of the house Penny Mordaunt lost her Portsmouth North seat.

The former MP was tipped to run again for leadership of the party if she retained her seat.

She said: “The Conservative party has taken a battering, because it failed to honour the trust that people had placed in it. 

“You can speak all you like of security and freedom, but you can’t have either if you are afraid.

“Afraid about the cost of living, or accessing healthcare, or whether the responsibility you shoulder will be recognised and rewarded. 

“That fear steals the future, and it only makes the present matter, and that is why we lost.”  

Former Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg also lost his seat in North East Somerset and Hanham to Dan Norris, the same man he took it from in 2010.

On losing his seat, Rees-Mogg said: “From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success.” 

Theresa May’s Maidenhead seat, which she retired from at this election, also went to the Liberal Democrats. 

Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer, Transport Secretary Mark Harper, and Chief Whip Simon Hart all lost their seats. 

Also, the highly recognisable Conservative MP Michael Fabricant lost his seat in Lichfield, and Truss’ former Deputy Prime Minister Thérèse Coffey lost her Suffolk Coastal seat. 

Tory Deputy Chairman Jonathan Gullis, and former cabinet minister in various roles Liam Fox, also both lost their seats.  

Feature image courtesy of The Conservative Party on Flickr, with thanks

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