STOCK Sunak Starmer
Britain's Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak (left) and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer go head to head in the race for 10 Downing Street on Thursday, July 4, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

The UK votes on Thursday to decide if Labour Party leader Keir Starmer can end 14 years of opposition and secure 10 Downing Street, or if Prime Minister Rishi Sunak can defy the odds for a remarkable comeback.

Surveys predict a massive Labour majority in the House of Commons, with projections ranging from 162 to 382 seats. Even the lowest estimate would surpass Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide with 418 seats.

General elections in the UK are determined by 650 district votes, each securing a seat in the House of Commons. A party needs 326 seats for a majority, though 320 usually suffices.

Pollsters are more concerned about the scale of a Labour victory, with Starmer’s party leading the Conservatives by over 20 points throughout the campaign, according to Bloomberg.

Labour’s consistent lead in polls reflects voter dissatisfaction with Conservative management of the cost of living, public services, immigration, and the economy.

Sunak has sought to persuade voters that his 20 months in charge have set the economy on an upward path after the shocks of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine.

Both Starmer and Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak kicked off the last day of campaigning warning voters of dire economic consequences if the other man wins. Polls open at 7am on Thursday and close at 10pm.

Starmer toured England, Scotland, and Wales to consolidate support, urging voters to ensure change by casting their ballots. The Tories warned of tax rises and weaker national security if Labour wins, attempting to deter a Labour “supermajority.”

This election marks the first July vote since 1945, when Labour’s Clement Attlee defeated Churchill, leading to significant social changes.

If voted to power, Starmer has promised sustained economic growth, focused on wealth creation. The Labour party has pledged not to raise taxes “for working people”, with no increase in the basic, higher, or additional rates of income tax, National Insurance, or VAT.

It also plans to cut waiting times in the National Health Service by adding 40,000 more appointments every week.

- with inputs from agencies