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Live updates: UK election, Keir Starmer is the new UK Prime Minister after a landslide election victory

Live updates: UK election, Keir Starmer is the new UK Prime Minister after a landslide election victory

Live updates: UK election, Keir Starmer is the new UK Prime Minister after a landslide election victory

People celebrate the results of the exit polls in a

Britain’s decision to give the centre-left Labour Party a parliamentary majority, according to exit polls, comes as Europe finds itself largely in the grip of what some are calling a right-wing populist surge.

Last month’s European elections saw a record number of MPs from far-right and far-right parties elected to the European Parliament. The results caused such chaos that French President Emmanuel Macron called early parliamentary elections in his own country, the first round of which was won last week by the far-right National Rally party.

This week a government made up of far-right figures was formed in the Netherlands. Italy is led by the most right-wing leader since the wartime rule of fascist leader Benito Mussolini. These electoral victories and the prospect of right-wing populists coming to power are no longer a surprise in European countries.

There are many reasons for this rise in populism, often country-specific. But broadly speaking, several European countries suffer from a sluggish economy, high immigration and higher energy prices, partly due to the drive to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. Populist politicians often blame the European Union for national problems, and this breathes oxygen into an increasingly Eurosceptic national discourse.

So why is Britain, the only country where Euroscepticism led to a referendum on EU membership, expected to buck this trend?

Despite the expected results, the British right is far from dead. The Conservative Party, despite its undeniably disappointing night, is in a position to exceed the expectations of several opinion polls during the campaign, some of which put it in double figures in Parliament.

Another party set to outperform polling expectations is the right-wing populist Reform UK, led by long-time Tory scourge Nigel Farage, who is perhaps best known these days for his friendship with former US president Donald Trump. Before this, he was credited with making Brexit possible after decades of campaigning against UK membership of the EU.

Farage’s political success so far has come without him taking a seat in Parliament. Now not only is he predicted to have a seat himself, but so are 12 colleagues who will be lobbing grenades at Labour leader Keir Starmer. While this may seem insignificant compared to the three-figure majority that Starmer is predicted to win, Farage will undoubtedly influence the debate over the future direction of the Conservative Party, possibly pulling it even further to the right.

Farage’s splitting of the right may have helped Starmer increase his majority in Parliament. A strange quirk of British politics is that the percentage of votes a party wins does not necessarily translate into seats. And with Reformism doing well in many of the seats that Labour will eventually win, not only will the far right be impossible to ignore in this Parliament, it could easily see its influence grow.

Britain suffers from many of the same problems as other European countries. If Starmer fails as prime minister, there is every chance that the popular right will continue to capture the public imagination, as has happened elsewhere in Europe.