Mr Farage beat Tory incumbent Giles Watling as his party made serous vote gains across the UK. It came just weeks after he shocked the Tories by U-turning on a decision to sit out the election after seven failed bids.

Nigel Farage finally won election to the Commons at the eighth attempt today, as he became the Reform MP for Clacton amid a Tory election bloodbath.

The party leader surged to victory in Essex with a majority of almost 8,000 to join Lee Anderson in representing the party on the green benches.

He polled 21,225 votes, comfortably beating incumbent Tory Giles Watling into second with 12,850.

And he immediately set his sights on taking on Sir Keir Starmer, adding: ‘We are coming for Labour, be in no doubt about that.’

Mr Anderson was returned in Ashfield earlier this morning, to become the first Reform MP to be elected. 

The party later added Great Yarmouth, the former seat of Brandon Lewis, a former Tory Northern Ireland Secretary, as its third seat, via former Southampton FC chairman Rupert Lowe. And ex-leader turned party chairman Richard Tice won in Boston to make it four.

Mr Farage beat Tory incumbent Giles Watling as his party made serous vote gains across the UK. It came just weeks after he shocked the Tories by U-turning on a decision to sit out the election after seven failed bids.

But the historic wins came as the party’s hopes of winning more than a dozen seats looked set to be dashed.

The exit poll suggested that it could take 13 seats. But it lost heavily to Labour in two Barnsley seats and Hartlepool, which were among those tipped to fall.

It came as Top Tories were swept away in Keir Starmer’s red tide today as election results roll in.
 Grant Shapps became the first Tory ‘big beast’ to fall, with a glum-looking Defence Secretary suffering a ‘Portillo Moment’ as he was defeated by Labour in Welwyn Hatfield by around 3,000 votes.

Mr Farage beat Tory incumbent Giles Watling as his party made serous vote gains across the UK. It came just weeks after he shocked the Tories by U-turning on a decision to sit out the election after seven failed bids.

Mr Farage beat Tory incumbent Giles Watling as his party made serous vote gains across the UK. It came just weeks after he shocked the Tories by U-turning on a decision to sit out the election after seven failed bids.

Mr Anderson, who won the seat in 2019 as a Conservative, defected to Nigel Farage’s outfit last year.

Sir Keir and his wife Victoria arrive for the count at his Holborn and St Pancras constituency in north London

Sir Keir and his wife Victoria arrive for the count at his Holborn and St Pancras constituency in north London

Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty arrived to cast their vote at Kirby Sigston Village Hall in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, this morning

Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty arrived to cast their vote at Kirby Sigston Village Hall in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, this morning

In his parting shot, Mr Shapps said the Conservatives had ‘lost’ the election rather than Labour winning it – and ‘tried the patience’ of the public by being divided.

Welsh Secretary David Davies has already conceded defeat, and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has lost to the Lib Dems in Chichester – who also took out Justice Secretary Alex Chalk and a host of others.

However, former leader Iain Duncan Smith surprised many by clinging on in Chingford.

And initial projections about the scale of Sir Keir’s majority have been scaled back, to 160 instead of 170 – well short of the 179 achieved by Tony Blair.

The Conservatives are expected to be slashed from the 365 MPs secured less than five years ago to 154, but that was an improvement from the 131 expected at first – their worst performance in modern political history.

Altogether the Lib Dems are now on track for get 56 MPs, rather than 61.

Mr Farage said he wants to ‘fill’ a ‘massive gap on the centre-right of British politics’.

He said: ‘It’s not just disappointment with the Conservative party, there is a massive gap on the centre-right of British politics and my job is to fill it, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

‘But it’s not just what we do in Parliament as a national party that matters, it’s what we do out round the country.

‘Getting 5,000 people in that room in Birmingham last week, the energy, the optimism, the enthusiasm, the belief that Westminster is just completely out of touch with ordinary people, says to me that my plan is to build a mass national movement over the course of the next few years, and hopefully, it will be big enough to challenge the general election properly in 2029.’

Mr Sunak is expected to announce he is quitting as leader in the morning, although he would stay on until a replacement is chosen.  

In the first tangible evidence of the hammering, Labour’s Heidi Alexander took ex-Cabinet minister Robert Buckland‘s Swindon South seat with a 9,000 majority. 

Altogether the Lib Dems are projected to get 61 MPs.

Sir Keir gave a muted reaction to the bombshell, posting on social media: ‘To everyone who has campaigned for Labour in this election, to everyone who voted for us and put their trust in our changed Labour Party – thank you.’ 

But his allies were far less restrained, with Lord Mandelson gloating that he was ‘gobsmacked’ and an ‘electoral meteor’ had ‘struck planet Earth’. He said it would have required a ‘superman’ to save the Tories and Rishi Sunak ‘is not superman’.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner – who could be set to become deputy PM within hours – said the numbers were ‘encouraging’ and praised Sir Keir’s leadership. 

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting was in tears as he was told the figures on live TV. 

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said ‘the people have voted for change’. 

Mr Anderson, who won Ashfield  in 2019 as a Conservative, defected to Nigel Farage’s outfit last year. 

He gained notoriety and the nickname ’30p Lee’ after controversial remarks about the poor failing to budget for food properly. 

He walked out on the Tories in March after refusing to apologise for controversial remarks about London mayor Sadiq Khan. The blunt-talking former coal miner started his political career as a Labour councillor, before defecting to the Conservatives.

Speaking after his victory, Mr Anderson told reporters: ‘As I said a few weeks back, there’s going to be a reckoning on election night – there has been a seismic reckoning in Ashfield and throughout the country.

‘Reform are picking up seats tonight – make no bones about it.

‘Next week, I’ll be on the green benches with Nigel and a few others, and we’re going to give them hell.’

The party has also seen an early boost as they polled ahead of the Conservatives in several seats in the north. 

It will lead to major questions about Rishi Sunak‘s decision to call an early election. 

Mr Farage celebrated with a glass of win as the exit poll was revealed

Mr Farage celebrated with a glass of win as the exit poll was revealed

And it will cause a huge battle for the soul of the Conservative Party in the weeks to come, with senior figures on the right open to some form of link-up. 

Reform were second in Houghton and Sunderland South, pushing the Tories into third place.

Reform UK candidate Sam Woods-Brass received 11,668 votes to Conservative candidate Chris Burnicle’s 5,514.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson won the constituency with 18,837 votes, achieving just over 47 per cent of the vote share and a majority of 7,169.

Reform has seen similar success on the second seat of the night, coming in second place in Blyth and Ashington with 10,857 votes, as Labour secured 20,030 votes and the Tories came third with 6,121 votes.

On a video posted to X, Mr Farage said: ‘It’s midnight, there are two results in from the north east of England that put Reform on 30 per cent of the vote, that is way more than any possible prediction or projection. It is almost unbelievable.

‘And what does it mean? It means we’re going to win seats, many many seats I think right now across the country.’

He added: ‘This is going to be six million votes plus. This folks is huge.’

The party leader is on course to enter Parliament at the eighth attempt by winning in the Essex coastal seat of Clacton.

The party leader is on course to enter Parliament at the eighth attempt by winning in the Essex coastal seat of Clacton.

And in a sign of the collapse in support for the Tories on the right the official exit poll suggests as many as 12 other candidates could join him.

And in a sign of the collapse in support for the Tories on the right the official exit poll suggests as many as 12 other candidates could join him.

Dr David Bull, Reform’s deputy leader, was asked on Sky News if he though Reform had split the Tory vote. 

‘I think the Conservatives have managed to split themselves in half,’ he replied. 

Andrea Leadsom has said the exit poll may indicate it was ‘wrong not to go after Reform straight away’.

The Conservatives at times seemed afraid to even say Nigel Farage’s name after e U-turned on a decision not to run, and later took hold of the party reins from ex-leader Richard Tice.

Ms Leadsom, the former Tory Cabinet minister said it was a ‘devastating’ night for her party.

She told BBC News: ‘It’s never easy when you are the prime minister to decide when to call a general election… it is a very, very difficult and very personal decision for any prime minister.’

She added: ‘Maybe it was wrong not to go after Reform straight away but again, all of these are very carefully thought through as to what is the right approach and what we wanted to do was focus on what Labour would be doing with people’s taxes.’

Labour is on course for a landslide, according to the exit poll projection, with 410 seats. The Conservatives are set for just 131 seats – the lowest number Tory MPs on record.

The exit poll also forecasts the Liberal Democrats on 61 seats and The Green Party on two.

In Scotland, the SNP are expected to secure jus 10 seats with Plaid Cymru in Wales on four. 

Ahead of polling booths closing last night, Mr Farage took to X, formerly Twitter, to taunt the Tories over Reform’s popularity under his leadership.

In one post directed at Rishi Sunak, he said: ‘Time to hit the panic button.’

In another post, which featured a video of him visiting a boxing gym on the campaign trail, he said: ‘Let’s deliver a knockout blow to the political establishment today.’

Mr Farage also posted a series of single-sentence policies from Reform’s manifesto designed to outflank the Tories on the Right, including raising the inheritance tax threshold to £2 million, scrapping stamp duty on properties worth up to £750,000 and quitting the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Farage had earlier declined to say what number of MPs they would classify as a win, but 13 elected representatives is higher than predictions by most polls.

It has been said that Reform’s wide but thin support would not help their success in a first-past-the-post system and Mr Farage has been vocal about the need for changes to the electoral system.

Ballot boxes arrive to be counted at Clacton leisure centre after voting ended at 10am

Ballot boxes arrive to be counted at Clacton leisure centre after voting ended at 10am

Dr David Bull, Reform's deputy leader, was asked on Sky News if he though Reform had split the Tory vote. 'I think the Conservatives have managed to split themselves in half,' he replied.

Dr David Bull, Reform’s deputy leader, was asked on Sky News if he though Reform had split the Tory vote. ‘I think the Conservatives have managed to split themselves in half,’ he replied.

It has been said that Reform’s wide but thin support would not facilitate their success in a first-past-the-post system and Mr Farage has been vocal about the need for changes to the electoral system.

So, the early successes will bolster Reform’s confidence as Mr Farage had previously said this election was only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for the start-up party as they build to bigger success in 2029.

Mr Farage’s electoral agent and Reform UK councillor Peter Harris has said their party leader is ‘up for the challenge’ of facing up to a Labour government and the exit poll prediction of 13 seats is ‘hugely exciting’.

Mr Harris told the PA news agency: ‘Anything’s possible if enough good decent people want change, then they can vote for it, as Brexit has proved before.

‘So, we were always hoping for multiple seats, 13 I’d like even more than that, really. So I think we wait and see once all the votes are counted we’ll see how many we’ve actually got, but yeah, hugely exciting.

‘Obviously, I’m completely focused on Clacton and our candidate here, Nigel Farage, we’re extremely confident that he’s going to be one of those 13 seats that gets elected to Westminster.’

On Mr Farage’s potential impact in Westminster, Mr Harris said: ‘He stood alone in the European Parliament, and he got the changes that he wanted and as he said to the European Parliament that when he first got there, they laughed at him and then when we left he said ‘well, you’re not laughing now’.

‘So you know, I can see Nigel will be a huge voice not just for Clacton but a huge voice for so many people in this country that have felt abandoned and betrayed. So, yeah, I think Nigel is up for the challenge.’

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