The 2024 general election - in numbers

5 July 2024

Six weeks on from Rishi Sunak’s soggy announcement on 22 May, and after a busy period of counting, 14 years of Conservative (or Conservative-led) government are over and a new political era is set to begin. 

So, in true Full Fact fashion, we’ve taken a look at some of the facts and figures behind the 2024 general election results. 

We’ve used the best available data we could find throughout, but it’s worth noting some sources do give slightly different historical election figures.

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How big is Labour’s ‘landslide’ victory?

Many sources have reported that Labour has won a total of 411 seats, which is an increase of 209 since 2019. Some media outlets have reported it as 412 seats. As we’ve explained here, this is because of the seat won by the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who was a Labour MP between 1997 and 2019 before renouncing his party allegiance when he was elected as Speaker. This means Labour has a simple majority of 172 seats—411 minus the combined total of seats held by opposition parties and the Speaker (239)—which is slightly different to its working majority

But how does this compare to other historic majorities? 

The figures quoted for majorities in the past can vary ever so slightly, but Mr Starmer’s majority will be just shy of Labour’s under Tony Blair in 1997 (often reported as 179, though other sources suggest it was 177 or 178). It will definitely be bigger than the majority Labour had after Mr Blair’s second victory in 2001 (165 or 167 seats), and Labour’s first majority in 1945 (146 or 147 seats). 

Mr Starmer’s majority is smaller than the Conservative majority of 209 (or 210) seats in 1924. 

However, the total number of available seats in the House of Commons has changed over the years, due to redistribution of seats and constituency boundary changes. Since 2010 there have been 650 MPs, but previously it was as high as 707 or as low as 516.

Taking this into consideration and looking at the percentage of overall seats won, Labour has won 63% of all seats in 2024 (at the time of writing), which is almost exactly the same proportion as in both 1997 and 2001. It’s slightly more than the victory in 1945 when Labour won 61% of seats, but less than in 1924 when the Conservatives won 67% of seats. 

Is this the worst ever Conservative election result?

The Conservative party won its lowest-ever number of seats at a general election, at least since the modern Conservative party was formed in the 1830s. (Many historians consider the party’s first short-lived government to have been under Sir Robert Peel in 1834.)

In 2024, the Conservatives won 121 seats, down from 365 in 2019

Previously the Conservative party’s lowest number of seats won was in 1906. We’ve seen some slightly different figures for its seat return that year, but it appears to have won a total of 156, with that including more than 20 held by its alliance party the Liberal Unionists. The two parties would officially merge in 1912. 

The next smallest number of seats won by the Conservatives was in 1997 when they won 165.

What about the Liberal Democrats?

The Liberal Democrats won 72 seats—gaining 61. 

It’s the party’s biggest ever election win since it was formed in 1988 from a merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party. At the time of writing, its vote share, at 12%, is almost on par with the seats share of 11%.

Similarly to Labour, its ‘efficiency’ has increased this election—with around 20 MPs for every million votes cast for them so far, compared to just under three per million in 2019

How does voter turnout compare?

Voter turnout across the UK as a whole was reportedly 60%, declining from 67.3% in 2019. That would be the lowest since 2001 when it dropped to 59.4%, and the second lowest since 1918 when turnout was 57.2%, according to the House of Commons Library

In many elections prior to 1997, voter turnout was consistently more than 70%, with peaks of 83.9% in 1950 and 82.6% in 1951. 

In Mr Starmer’s constituency of Holborn and St Pancras, turnout this year was 54.5%, down from 66.3% in 2019. For Mr Sunak’s constituency of Richmond and Northallerton, in North Yorkshire, there was a 65.8% turnout in this election, compared with 69.9% in 2019, although there were some changes to the constituency boundaries between these elections. 

How did the two main parties do in terms of votes?

Labour has won 63% of the seats in the House of Commons, at the time of writing, and 33.7% of the vote share.

Labour’s vote share this time around was lower than in 2017 when it won 41% and 262 (40%) seats, but higher than in 2019 when it achieved 32.9% of the vote share and 202 (31%) seats. 

By our calculations, the 2024 result saw the highest proportion of seats to vote share of any Labour victory looking all the way back to the first Labour win in 1923. In 1997 Labour won more seats (418) but with a bigger vote share, of 44.3%.

The way that votes have been distributed across the UK, and under the ‘First Past the Post’ electoral system, means that Labour won 43 seats per million votes in this election, an increase from about 20 seats per million votes in 2017 and 2019.

Meanwhile the Conservatives won about 24% of the vote share, and 19% of the seats in the Commons.

This is the party’s worst vote share result since 1918 (when the franchise was extended to more men and some women).  

How did smaller parties do?

With Labour and Conservatives winning a combined 58% of the vote share, smaller parties and independents won the remaining 42%. That’s significantly up on recent years. The Conservatives and Labour took a combined vote share of 76% in 2019, 82% in 2017 and 67% in 2015. 

The Liberal Democrats, Reform UK, Green parties, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Sinn Féin and DUP won 39% of the vote share, with the rest going to other smaller parties and independents. 

The Liberal Democrats follow Labour and the Conservatives with the next highest number of seats—72, which is 11% of all seats. But Reform UK ranked third for overall vote share with 14% of votes, but only won five seats, which is about 1% of the total.

Meanwhile, the Green parties (combined total for the Green parties for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland) won 7% of the votes and four seats, or 1%. The Scottish National Party (SNP) won 3% of the votes, and nine seats (just over 1% of the total). 

What’s happened in Scotland?

The scale of Labour’s overall victory is no more evident than in Scotland, where Scottish Labour has so far won 37 seats—an increase from just one seat in 2019, and all gained from the SNP. 

In terms of vote share, it won 35.7%, which is an increase of 17 percentage points from 2019 and higher than the party’s 34.4% share in England

Update 12 July 2024

This article was updated after the election result for the last outstanding seat had been announced.

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