Rishi Sunak apologises after historic Tory defeat

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Rishi Sunak has apologised to the nation following the Conservative Party’s general election defeat – the worst in its parliamentary history.

Sir Keir Starmer has led the Labour Party to a landslide victory and will take over from Mr Sunak as the UK’s prime minister.

Accepting responsibility for the result, Mr Sunak said he heard voters’ “anger” at his government.

“To the country I would like to say first and foremost I am sorry,” he said.

“I have given this job my all but you have sent a clear message that the government of the UK must change, and yours is the judgement that matters.

“I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.”

Mr Sunak delivered his speech outside Number 10, despite earlier rain – this time with a brolly on hand to avoid a repeat of his sodden election announcement in May.

Mr Sunak said he would step down as party leader, adding “not immediately but once the formal arrangements for selecting my successor are in place”.

The MP for Richmond and Northallerton insisted there would be “an orderly transition” and also paid tribute to Sir Keir, whom he described as “a decent and public-spirited man who I respect”.

Having said goodbye to staff in Downing Street just before his speech, Mr Sunak then got into a car with his wife Akshata to travel to offer his resignation to the King.

In an earlier victory speech in central London, Sir Keir said “change begins now”, adding “it feels good, I have to be honest”.

With nearly all results declared, Labour is projected to form the next government, with a majority of 174. Currently they have 412 MPs, up 211 from the last election.

The Tories are set for the worst result in their history. They have lost 250 seats and are currently on 121 seats.

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss – whose brief, disastrous time in office led to a slump in Tory support from which it never recovered – lost her South West Norfolk seat to Labour by 630 votes.

Ms Truss saw her huge 32,988 majority overturned, with the Reform candidate coming third with 9,958 votes.

She is among dozens of senior Tories who have lost their seats, including Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Commons leader Penny Mordaunt, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk and former minister Sir Jacob-Rees Mogg.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told the BBC a “large number of people who had previously voted Conservative have voted Reform” and the Conservatives now had to “think hard” about how to win back their support.

Former minister Steve Baker, long a thorn in the side of Tory leaders over Brexit, expressed relief following the news he had lost his seat after 14 years as the MP for Wycombe.

“Thank God, I am free – it’s over,” he said from the empty hall where the ballots had been counted overnight.

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