‘We’re not all Labour but everyone was jubilant’: UK voters on the election result

<span>Keir Starmer and his wife, Victoria, arrive in Downing Street and greet supporters in London.</span><span>Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian</span>
Keir Starmer and his wife, Victoria, arrive in Downing Street and greet supporters in London.Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

After 14 years of Conservative rule, the UK woke on Friday to news of a landslide election victory for Labour. Keir Starmer is now the prime minister after a historic defeat for Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats made huge gains, taking more than 70 seats, the SNP is on nine, while the Greens, Plaid Cymru and Reform UK each have four seats so far.

The first-past-the-post system meant that despite Nigel Farage’s party winning more votes than the Lib Dems, it secured a fraction of the seats. Labour failed to substantially increase its share of the vote compared with 2019, while the Conservatives’ portion plummeted by about 20 points.

As the UK’s political landscape is transformed, voters shared their reaction to the election result.

‘The cabinet will be one of the most working class ever’

George Wigzell, 39, actor, voted for Labour in Leyton and Wanstead

I’m delighted – the Tories are wiped out and we’ve got a Labour government at last. It’s long overdue. I am mostly happy for my dad, who is in his 70s and campaigned tirelessly over the last few years. He’s said ‘all I want before I die is a Labour government’. Thankfully he’s fit and well to enjoy it.

We had 10 friends over to watch the results; we were up until 4am. We had a giant colouring-in map of constituencies and a Tory wipeout poster, and were drinking Keir royales and eating a vegan chilli. We’re not all Labour voters but everyone was jubilant about getting the Tories out.

I feel optimistic. There are so many good people involved, especially at the grassroots level, there’s a real sense of [hope]. The fact that the cabinet will be one of the most working class ever is something to celebrate too. I’m optimistic about the country being a better place in the next five years.

‘We can get back to addressing grassroots concerns’

Kate Roberts, 60, performance artist, voted for Labour in Clwyd East

I’m delighted with the election results, especially about the Labour gain in my constituency. I believe we can finally get back to addressing the concerns of local people at a grassroots level, but also on a wider, country level – Welsh people celebrating their culture and heritage at the same time as being open to people from other places and working together for all to benefit.

Having a Labour government means everything to me because socialism stands for my core values and beliefs in everyone in society having equal rights and opportunities. My concerns are that as a result of many years of populist politics, conservative ideology might have gained too much strength and embedded itself deep within our culture and society.

‘Starmer seems to know what he’s talking about’

Nitin Menon, 38, works in business operations, voted for Labour in Brent East

This is the first UK general election I’ve voted in and I’m positive about the result. I moved to the UK two years ago from India when Liz Truss became prime minister and she didn’t seem like she knew what she was talking about. Sunak was celebrated in my home country but he didn’t inspire much confidence.

Starmer looks more assured yet balanced in his views, and he seems to know what he’s talking about. But it feels a bit like it was more a vote against the Conservatives rather than a vote for Labour.

With regards to Reform, I think the whole narrative around English values and English culture is just ridiculous – you can’t be talking about these things in a global world. And their anti-immigration stance seems to have xenophobic roots rather than any other reasons.

‘This is a Tory loss more than a Labour win’

Louise, 40, non-profit worker, voted for the Green party in Lewisham West and East Dulwich

While I’m very, very glad to have the Tories out of power, this feels like nothing but a deep indictment of first past the post as a voting system. This result is not representative of the will of the people.

It’s great to see such an increase in the number of Green seats. I find it really frustrating that because of the way the electoral system works, most of the time there’s no point in [voting for smaller parties], but I still think it’s worth voting for what you want.

I hope Labour don’t ride this win too high, because they absolutely need to look at it long and hard and face the truth: they lost seats because of Palestine, and in many cases they gained seats because of Reform.

‘Gone are the days of voting for just two parties’

Max, 25, retail manager, voted for the Lib Dems in Eastbourne

Gone are the days of voting for just two primary parties. I believe we’ve now entered an era where, much like some other European countries, many smaller parties can make up government, and reflect different political beliefs that work together to make the country a better place, rather than an “us and them” mentality.

I’m really pleased the Lib Dems got more seats than they anticipated. They’re progressive, and it seems like many have gone for them rather than Labour because they’re pushing harder than Labour on some policies. I also voted for them because my seat was between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives.

I didn’t hate the SNP but I didn’t always know what they stood for’

Emily, 30s, works in local government, voted for Labour in Edinburgh North and Leith

I’m glad to see Labour coming back across the UK and I’m hoping for a change of tone and a kinder discourse. I’ve voted tactically for the Lib Dems in the past when I lived elsewhere, but this election I voted Labour.

I feel like they represent kindness and fairness. It would be great for my kids to grow up with a Labour government. I didn’t hate the SNP – they were OK, but I didn’t always know what they stood for, other than independence.

I’m not sure what will change for us directly, but it’s like a change of feeling and direction. In terms of whether there will be huge change for local government, I’m not actually sure. I’d love to see fewer cuts to social services and more help for vulnerable adults. It’s awful how the service has been stripped back here.

‘I’m shocked at the rise of Reform UK’

Charlie Mason, 19, student, voted for Labour in Leeds North East

I feel absolute joy to know that after 14 years of Tory disaster, they are finally gone. I can remember each election day since I was 10 years old, waking up to find out that the Tories were still in power each time.

I made the most of my printmaking skills and made some screen prints telling people to vote, which I have hung in my window. I’m shocked at the rise of Reform UK, it’s really worrying to see such a shift to the far right, but I think lots of this movement is down to the pantomime of Nigel Farage. I am very happy to hear that Carla Denyer has won her seat in Bristol.

Though the Labour party doesn’t completely reflect my views, there is something powerful about this change of government and being part of this. We were told we were voting for change – now let’s see if that change happens.

‘I am a natural Conservative voter – but I could be persuaded to vote Labour’

Thomas, 44, works in the City, voted for the Lib Dems in Queen’s Park and Maida Vale

Related: ‘They need to be brave’: business leaders react to Labour’s victory

I am a natural Conservative voter and this result will be very personally expensive to me – VAT on private school fees will be the most immediate hit. Beyond that, despite what they say, I have no doubt that Labour has tax rises planned and that high earners like me will bear the brunt of that. From a narrow financial perspective, this was a very bad result for our family.

But despite that I’m just emotionally delighted by the result. The Conservatives have displayed such shockingly low levels of competence and promoted such low calibre people over the last 10 years that it’s impossible not to be delighted to see them wiped off the map.

The priority for me is stability and competence in a government and Labour has earned the right to give it a shot. If they do a good job I could definitely be persuaded to vote Labour in the future.