All the clichés of commentary – “seismic”, “unprecedented”, “existential” – are inadequate to describe the extraordinary events that overtook British politics on Thursday, 4 July 2024. That date will become common currency in university history lectures and examinations for generations to come.

The political landscape of the UK is radically changed, all but unrecognisable to those who inhabit it, terra incognita to veteran politicians, especially those whose party was all but annihilated by Thursday’s tsunami. Here be dragons. Labour won a landslide victory, gaining at least 412 parliamentary seats, on just 33.9 per cent of the vote – less than Tony Blair’s vote share of 43.2 per cent in 1997. The Conservatives, on 23.6 per cent of the vote, won 121 seats. Behind them, in third place on vote share, was Reform UK, with 14.3 per cent of the vote, but only five seats. Yet the Liberal Democrats, with 600,000 votes fewer than Reform and only 12.1 per cent of the vote, were rewarded with 71 seats.