Penny Mordaunt and Grant Shapps among record 11 ministers to lose seats in cull of top Tories

A record-breaking 11 cabinet ministers have lost their seats as Rishi Sunak’s government faced a general election bloodbath.

Johnny Mercer, Grant Shapps, Gillian Keegan, Lucy Frazer, Penny Mordaunt, Michelle Donelan, Alex Chalk, David TC Davies, Victoria Prentis, Mark Harper and Simon Hart are among the Tory big beasts who have fallen as Labour claimed a dramatic victory.

Others who had been under threat, including chancellor Jeremy Hunt, business secretary Kemi Badenoch and home secretary James Cleverly, clung on despite challenges in their seats. Rishi Sunak had a scare in his seat too, going there to campaign eight times, but he won easily in the end taking almost half the vote.

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Penny Mordaunt was among the high profile figures to lose their seats (Sky)
Penny Mordaunt was among the high profile figures to lose their seats (Sky)

Another big beast to go was Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg in North East Somerset but former home secretary Suella Braverman held off a challenge.

Defence secretary Mr Shapps has lost to Labour in Welwyn Hatfield while leader of the Commons Ms Mordaunt was defeated in Portsmouth North by the party. Veterans minister Johnny Mercer has been defeated by Labour in Plymouth Moor View.

Justice secretary Mr Chalk was defeated in Cheltenham to Liberal Democrat candidate Max Wilkinson and education secretary Ms Keegan has also been beaten heavily by the Liberal Democrats in Chichester. Ms Frazer, the culture secretary, loset her Ely and East Cambridgeshire seat to the Liberal Democrats. And Ms Donelan, the science secretary, lost her Melksham & Devizes seat to the Lib Dems.

The Tories lost all their MPs in Wales after it was confirmed Welsh secretary David TC Davies lost his seat in Monmouthshire to Labour. And Mr Hart came third in the Caerfyrddin constituency, with Plaid Cymru's Ann Davies taking top spot. Becoming the 11th cabinet minister to be ousted, transport secretary Mr Harper was defeated by Labour in the Forest of Dean.

Grant Shapps was one of the first big beasts to fall (James Shaw/Shutterstock)
Grant Shapps was one of the first big beasts to fall (James Shaw/Shutterstock)

In his concession speech, Mr Shapps hit out at the Conservative “indulgence” that appears to have cost them the election, saying voters do not back divided parties. And in her own concession speech, Ms Mordaunt said the party had taken “a battering”.

While a key figure in the Tory party for decades, having been appointed vice-chairman in 2005, it was after the 2019 election win that Mr Shapps became higher-profile in Government.

He has held five Cabinet positions since then – from the roles of transport secretary and home secretary to energy security secretary as well as business secretary, and most recently defence secretary.

After a short-lived Tory leadership bid in 2022, Mr Shapps became a major backer of Liz Truss’s rival Rishi Sunak in that contest.

Jacob Rees-Mogg lost his North Somerset seat to Labour (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)
Jacob Rees-Mogg lost his North Somerset seat to Labour (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Mr Shapps is said to have recorded Tory colleagues’ doubts about Ms Truss in a running spreadsheet, wielded on a pricey foldable smartphone.

He oversaw the transport department during the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing airport chaos as travel resumed, and faced criticism for failing to engage with unions over industrial action.

The exit poll put Sir Keir Starmer on course to complete one of the most remarkable turnarounds in British political history forecasting a huge Labour victory that will sweep him into Downing Street with a majority of 170.

As polling stations closed at 10pm, the exit poll predicted that Labour will win 410 seats, the Tories 131, the Lib Dems 61, Reform 13 and the SNP 10. Outside the cabinet, Tory former deputy prime minister Dame Therese Coffey has been defeated by Labour in Suffolk Coastal. And, in a major upset, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross lost his seat to the SNP by just under 1,000 votes.

Mr Shapps, who has lost to Labour in Welwyn Hatfield, said it was “clear tonight that Britain will have a new government in the morning’’.

Gillian Keegan has also been shown the door by the electorate (Sky)
Gillian Keegan has also been shown the door by the electorate (Sky)

He added: “What is crystal clear to me tonight, is that it is not so much that Labour won this election, but that the Conservatives have lost it.

“Door after door, voters have been dismayed by our inability to iron out our differences in private and then be united in public.

“Instead, we have tried the patience of traditional Conservative voters with a propensity to create an endless political soap opera out of internal rivalries and divisions which have become increasingly entrenched.

“Today, voters have simply said, ‘if you can’t agree with each other, we can’t agree to vote for you’.

“We forgot a fundamental rule of politics, that people do not vote for divided parties.”

In a stunning upset, Ms Keegan secured only 13,368 votes, with Lib Dem candidate Jess Brown-Fuller on 25,514. And Ms Mordaunt, who was a frontrunner for the Tory leadership after the election, was beaten by around 1,000 votes by her Labour rival. She won 13,715 votes, while Labour’s Amanda Martin won 14,495.

In a concession speech during which she was on the brink of tears, Ms Mordaunt said: “Tonight, the Conservative Party has taken a battering because it failed to honour the trust that people had placed in it.

“You can speak all you like of security and freedom, but you can’t have either if you are afraid, afraid about the cost of living or accessing healthcare, or whether the responsibility you shoulder will be recognised and rewarded, that fear steals the future and it only makes the present matter, and that is why we lost.”