LIVE UPDATES: UK election results Labor win as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak concedes defeat

The United Kingdom’s decision to give the center-left Labor Party a parliamentary majority, according to exit polls, comes at a time when Europe is widely gripped by what some are calling a right-wing populist surge.

Last month European elections It saw a historic number of lawmakers from hard-right and far-right parties elected to the European Parliament. As the results caused confusion, French President Emmanuel Macron called parliamentary elections in his home country, the first round of which saw a far-right national rally. Won last week.

A far-right government was formed in the Netherlands this week. Italy has been led by a far-right leader since the rule of fascist wartime leader Benito Mussolini. These electoral victories and the prospect of the populist right in power are no longer surprising in European countries.

There are many reasons for this rise in populism, often limited to individual countries. But more broadly, many European countries are suffering from sluggish economies, high immigration and high energy prices, due to the push for carbon net zero. The EU is often blamed for national woes by populist politicians and breathes oxygen into an increasingly Eurosceptic national discourse.

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

Despite the expected number of seats, the British right is not dead. The Conservative Party, despite its undeniably disappointing night, has outperformed the expectations of many opinion polls during the campaign, some of which were below double digits in parliament.

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Another party defying poll expectations is the populist right-wing Reform UK led by the long-suffering Conservatives, who are best known these days for their friendship with former US President Donald Trump. Before this, he was credited with making Brexit possible after decades of campaigning against Britain’s EU membership.

All of Farage’s political victories to date have come without his having held the position of Member of Parliament. Now he doesn’t just have one seat, he has 12 peers to throw grenades at Labor leader Keir Starmer. While this may seem small compared to Starmer’s expected three-figure majority, Farage will no doubt influence the debate over the future direction of the Conservative Party.

Farage’s right-wing split may actually have helped Starmer increase his majority in parliament. A peculiar quirk of British politics is that the percentage of votes a party receives is not necessarily the number of seats. With reform doing so well in many seats where Labor will ultimately win, the hard right will not only be impossible to ignore in this Parliament, but could easily see its influence grow further.

Britain, like other European countries, suffers from many problems. If Starmer stumbles as prime minister, there is every chance that the populist right will continue to capture the public imagination, as it has elsewhere in Europe.

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