Bumper majority would be a spectacular personal triumph for Johnson

Bumper majority would be a spectacular personal triumph for Johnson
By: WNG SKY Posted On: December 12, 2019 View: 38

Bumper majority would be a spectacular personal triumph for Johnson

Boris Johnson's big gamble of a Christmas election has paid off handsomely.

According a dramatic exit poll, he has not just won his Brexit election, but won big, with a projected majority of 86.

The prime minister's emphatic majority, better than many opinion polls predicted during the campaign, means he has a mandate to deliver Brexit next month, as he promised during the election campaign.

It also means that with 368 MPs he has a thumping majority in the Commons to drive the Brexit legislation through Parliament without the danger of losing crucial votes to the opposition parties and any pro-Remain Tory rebels.

For Mr Johnson it is a spectacular personal triumph and a vindication of his strategy.

A 86-seat majority for the Conservatives would be the Tories' best election result since Margaret Thatcher won a 102-seat majority in 1987.

It is also an incredible comeback for Mr Johnson.

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A year ago he was languishing and brooding on the Tory back benches. Now, not only has he snatched the leadership of the Tory party, but he has also won a stunning election victory.

For Labour, with a projection of just 192 MPs, the result is truly appalling and embarrassing.

The party is on course for its worst performance since the Second World War and even worse than in 1983 under Michael Foot.

In that election, Labour's manifesto was dismissed as "the longest suicide note in history" by the late Labour MP Gerald Kaufman. Many Labour MPs will reach the same conclusion about this year's big-spending manifesto.

Jeremy Corbyn
Image: If the poll rings true, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour has lost spectacularly

It is difficult to see how Jeremy Corbyn, who has led Labour to one of its worst ever defeats, can survive as leader.

Among those MPs who never wanted him as leader, the knives will be out. And ferociously.

But Mr Corbyn has his adoring supporters on the left and even if he does quit swiftly, the Labour Party appears to be heading for a bloody civil war between left and right in the leadership campaign that is now inevitable.

The exit poll suggests that the more a constituency voted for Leave in the 2016 EU referendum, the better the Conservatives have performed in this election and Labour has slumped to humiliating defeats in its former heartlands.

Boris Johnson
Image: Boris Johnson could be course for a huge victory

This poll is almost certainly reliable.

Exit polls are different from opinion polls and therefore regarded as much more accurate, because they are based on interviews with voters as they come out of the polling station about how they actually voted rather than how they say they intend to vote.

"The principal aim of the exit poll is to help viewers and listeners to navigate the initial hours of election night as the first results come in," the exit poll chief and election pundit Professor Sir John Curtice said earlier this week.

"By comparing the actual results with the forecast of the exit poll, we will be able to point to the political direction in which Britain is now apparently headed."

This exit poll was conducted by Ipsos Mori across 144 polling stations throughout polling day, many of them in marginal constituencies.

Voters were asked to fill in a replica ballot paper - voting the same as they did in the polling booth - as they left the polling station.

One health warning about the exit poll, however: it does not include the postal votes, so it may not have picked any advantage one party may have built up before polling day.

In recent elections the record of exit polls has been pretty good, with one exception.

In 2010, the poll estimated the number of Conservative seats spot on and was just three out in 2017, and also correctly predicted a hung parliament.

After opinion polls during the 2017 campaign predicted a big win for Theresa May and the Tories, the exit poll estimated the Conservatives would take 314 seats, very close to the 317 the party actually ended up with.

But in 2015 it was a different story, as an exit poll wrongly pointed to a hung parliament, under-estimating the Tory seats by 15, when David Cameron won a narrow majority for the Conservatives.

For the 2010 election, which resulted in the coalition government, the exit poll was highly accurate, though, correctly predicting 307 seats for the Conservatives, 255 for Labour (three fewer than the party won), 59 for the Liberal Democrats (only two more than they won) and 29 for other parties (they won 28).

The only other exit poll to get it wrong in recent election was in 1992 when a poll predicted a hung parliament after Labour under Neil Kinnock had enjoyed opinion poll leads throughout the campaign.

The Conservatives won a majority of 21 and John Major stayed on as prime minister.

When the exit poll was published at 10pm on 8 June 2017 there was - not surprisingly - a stunned silence in Tory HQ.

This time there will have been loud cheers in the party headquarters. And in Downing Street. And justifiably. Mr Johnson's gamble has ended in a huge triumph.

The Brexit Election on Sky News - the fastest results and in-depth analysis on mobile, TV and radio.

  • ·Watch John Bercow with Dermot Murnaghan live from 9pm on Thursday
  • ·Follow the Election Social show on Sky News' website, app and social media channels from 9.45pm
  • ·See the exit poll live at 10pm
  • ·Watch [email protected] election special on Friday morning

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