How did independents and the smaller parties perform in the general election?

There were some headline-grabbing wins for the UK's smaller parties and for independent candidates in the general election.

London, UK. 05 JUL, 2024. Jeremy Corbyn, standing as an independent was victorious against candidate for Labour Praful Nargund in the General election 2024.  Corbyn had/has held the seat since 1983 and was/is in his 11th election and exit polling projects a large labour majority in the wider vote.  Credit Milo Chandler/Alamy Live News
Jeremy Corbyn stood as an independent and retained his seat in Islington North. (Alamy)

On 4 July, a record number of constituencies ended up celebrating their "independents day".

It was fitting that a general election held on the famous US holiday saw so much success for independent candidates. There were six independent MPs returned on Friday morning, the highest number since the 1950 general election.

While Labour's landslide grabbed most of the headlines, there were significant gains for those with smaller aims. An intriguing electoral tale was spun when taking the five main, established political parties – Labour, the Conservatives, the Lib Dems, the SNP and Plaid Cymru – out of the equation.

There were no independent MPs voted in at the last general election in 2019, so to have six heading to parliament this time is some turnaround.

Four of the six independent MPs were pro-Palestinian candidates, who gained votes because of anger at Labour's approach to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

In Leicester South, independent Shockat Adam said "this is for Gaza" as he pulled off a shock victory over Labour's shadow minister Jonathan Ashworth.

Iqbal Mohamed won in Dewsbury and Batley to become the first independent to secure a general election seat in Yorkshire since 1907.

(Yahoo News UK)
(Yahoo News UK)

In Birmingham Perry Barr, independent Ayoub Khan, a former Liberal Democrat councillor, beat Labour's Khalid Mahmood, who had held the seat for 23 years.

Another independent, Adnan Hussain, beat Labour's Kate Hollern by just 132 votes in Blackburn.

Watch: Ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn re-elected as MP after running as independent in Islington North

The most high profile independent winner was former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who won his London seat in Islington North for the 11th time after he was blocked from standing as a Labour candidate.

The final independent winner was in Northern Ireland, where unionist Alex Easton won in North Down after quitting the DUP.

Both the Green Party and Reform UK can lay claim to a successful election night.

The Greens quadrupled their number of MPs from one to four, while Reform were victorious in five constituencies and ran Labour close in a number of others.

The Greens gained the most seats in the party's history, with co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay winning in Bristol Central and Waveney Valley while Ellie Chowns was elected in Herefordshire North.

FILE - Green Party co-leaders Adrian Ramsay, right, and Carla Denyer pose with supporters at their General Election Manifesto launch in Hove, England, on June 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
Green Party co-leaders Carla Denyer, left, and Adrian Ramsay, right, were both elected. (AP Photo)

The party also successfully defended its only seat before this election – with Sian Berry winning Brighton Pavilion, which had been held by former MP Caroline Lucas since 2010.

Ramsay described the party winning four seats as “incredible”.

He said: “I’m truly humbled by the level of support from people.”

Reform UK's new MPs Richard Tice, Nigel Farage, Lee Anderson and Rupert Lowe pose during a presentation of their programme in London on July 5, 2024, a day after Britain held a general election. As of 1200 GMT on Friday, the Labour party had won 412 seats in the House of Commons with only two results left to declare, giving it a majority of more than 170. The Conservative Party won just 121 seats -- a record low -- with the right-wing vote apparently spliced by Nigel Farage's anti-immigration Reform UK party. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Four of Reform UK's five new MPs, from left to right, Richard Tice, Nigel Farage, Lee Anderson and Rupert Lowe. (AFP via Getty Images)

Reform took just five seats despite having more than four million voters and a 14.3% share of the overall vote, larger than the Liberal Democrats, who won 71 seats.

Leader leader Nigel Farage, who won in Clacton, said proportional representation in the voting system would have meant Reform “looking at nearly 100 seats” and called the first-past-the-post electoral system “not fit for purpose”.

(Yahoo News UK)
(Yahoo News UK)

Reform's other seats came from Lee Anderson, who left the Conservatives to successfully defend Ashfield; party chairman Richard Tice who secured Boston and Skegness and former Southampton FC chairman Rupert Lowe, who won Great Yarmouth.

Their fifth seat was won later on Friday by James McMurdock, who won Basildon South and East Thurrock with a majority of just 98 votes from Labour.

Almost 30% of the overall vote was won by parties other than the big five, the largest proportion in recent electoral history. In 2015, it was almost 20%, but in every other election dating back to 1950 it has been less than 10%.

  • Pro-Gaza candidates dent Labour's UK election victory. "Jonathan Ashworth, who had been expected to serve in Keir Starmer's Labour government, lost his seat to independent Shockat Adam, one of at least four pro-Gaza candidates to win. Several other Labour candidates came close to losing." [Reuters]

  • Green Party get best election results as four MPs (and both leaders) voted in. "Victories for co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay, and for Ellie Chowns in Herefordshire North, delivered a spectacular result for the Greens and meant it met its own ambitious targets of winning four seats." [Evening Standard]

  • How many seats did Reform UK win - and why they don't match its vote share? "Farage has seen his party win dozens fewer seats than the Liberal Democrats, despite winning a higher share of the national vote." [Yahoo News UK]

  • Reform claim fifth seat as hecklers interrupt Nigel Farage speech. "The Reform UK leader, whose party won South Basildon and East Thurrock and four other seats, confronted several hecklers during a victory speech in central London." [Sky News]

  • Jeremy Corbyn wins historic Islington North election as independent thanks to 'kinder' politics. "In his speech following his election as an Independent MP for Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn said: 'Our campaign was a positive one. Our campaign did not get into the gutter of politics as is too often happening in this country.'" [MyLondon]