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UK and France Elections, Karlovy Vary, and Munich

Happy Friday, Insiders. Europe has a different look about it today, with a Labour government elected in the UK and France’s far-right surging in France. Jesse Whittock here with what it all means in MediaLand.

Euro Elections Decided

Labour's Keir Starmer is the next Prime Minister of the UK
Labour’s Keir Starmer is the next Prime Minister of the UK
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Labour wins: The results of the UK general election officially landed this morning in Europe, and the Labour Party has won with a huge majority, which will give it immense power to enact change in Britain after 14 years of Conservative rule. The win has been expected for a long while and there were a series of Conservative gaffes during the six-week campaigning period that meant the ruling party failed to make in-roads on Labour’s long-standing poll lead. At 10 p.m. local time yesterday, when voting ended, the broadcasters were allowed to release their joint exit poll, which is usually pretty much bang on in predicting the winner and size of victory. The 410 seats Labour were predicted was proved to be almost 100% correct hours later, as the Conservative vote collapsed and the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Reform UK — the party led by arch Brexiteer Nigel Farage — made gains. Notable incidents from the evening saw big-name Tory MPs such as former Prime Minister Liz Truss and Grant Shapps lose their seats, Farage finally become an MP at the eighth attempt and a very, very knotty shipping analogy delivered by Labour Party Health Secretary Wes Streeting during the BBC’s election coverage (once you’ve finished this newsletter, Google it; you’ll thank me). Outgoing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak handed over the keys to Number 10 with a call for “decency and tolerance” in British politics, though with the anti-EU, anti-establishment Reform UK taking more than four million votes overall, there’s stormy weather ahead for the centrist Starmer.

What’s next?: The serious work of governing now begins for Labour, and everyone will have their opinions on what needs fixing. The TV and film industries in the UK have had a tough time of the past few years, with organizations and broadcasters cutting funding, streamers resetting and freelance work drying up. Entertainment union Equity was first to send a message to the new PM, releasing a statement last night that it will be “pressing the new administration to set out a long-term plan” on issues such as arts funding, casting director fees, freelancer support and working conditions, among other issues. There was lots more reaction from the likes of Bectu, the Film & TV Charity, Directors UK and the WGGB, along with heads of state and political leaders from around world. Notably, Donald Trump failed to congratulate Starmer in his message this morning, instead choosing to highlight the striking gains made by his old buddy Farage instead. No word yet from Biden.

Fight in France: Of course, the UK wasn’t the only European country going through political change this week. The first round of voting in France’s elections, which were called after the far-right emerged the winner in recent European ballots, brought more bad news to the mainstream parties. The far-right Rassemblement National won with well over 30% of the vote, followed by the left-wing New Popular Front alliance. President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist block came a damaging third. All eyes are now on Sunday’s second round of voting. As Mel reported on Monday, RN is not yet on course for a majority, but will likely have the most seats in parliament. Macron has vowed to remain in his role until the end of his current mandate in May 2027, but how much power will he really wield with Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration party in his way?

Independent Women