Election results 2019: PM hails Brexit 'mandate' as Tories set for big win

Election results 2019: PM hails Brexit 'mandate' as Tories set for big win
By: WNG BBC Posted On: December 12, 2019 View: 75

Election results 2019: PM hails Brexit 'mandate' as Tories set for big win

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Boris Johnson has hailed general election results suggesting he is heading for a big Commons majority as a "mandate to get Brexit done".

The Conservatives have taken a string of Labour seats in areas that voted Leave in the 2016 EU referendum.

Jeremy Corbyn said it had been a "very disappointing night" - and he would not lead Labour into the next election.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has lost her seat to the Scottish National Party in a night of upsets.

The BBC is now forecasting that Mr Johnson will return to Downing Street with a majority of 74, giving him enough MPs to get his Brexit deal through, taking the UK out of the European Union on 31 January.

Labour have lost seats across the North, Midlands and Wales in places which backed Brexit in 2016.

They are set to win 63 fewer seats than in 2017, it is suggested.

Speaking at his election count in Islington North, where he was re-elected with a reduced majority, Mr Corbyn said Labour had put forward a "manifesto of hope" but "Brexit has so polarised debate it has overridden so much of normal political debate".

He also took a swipe at "media intrusion" - and said he would not lead the party into the next election, but would stay on while a period of "reflection" takes place.

Speaking after he was re-elected in Uxbridge, west London, with a slightly higher majority, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "It does look as though this One Nation Conservative government has been given a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done."

In other developments:

  • Jo Swinson - who only became Lib Dem leader in July and began the election campaign by saying she aimed to be prime minister - lost her Dunbartonshire East seat to the SNP by 149 votes
  • Nigel Dodds, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, lost his Belfast North seat to Sinn Fein
  • The Lib Dems took Richmond Park, south-west London, from Conservative minister Zac Goldsmith
  • Labour's Caroline Flint - who backed the Tory Brexit deal in defiance of her party - lost in Don Valley to Mr Johnson's party

Scottish National Party leader and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it had been an "exceptional night" for her party.

She said Scotland had sent a "very clear message" that it did not want a Boris Johnson Conservative government and that the prime minister did not have a mandate to take Scotland out of the EU.

It was also a "strong endorsement" for Scotland having a choice over its own future in an another independence referendum, something that a majority Conservative government would be reluctant to grant.

Labour looks set for one of its worst election results since World War Two.

Some traditional Labour constituencies, such as Darlington, Sedgefield and Workington, in the north of England, will have a Conservative MP for the first time in decades - or in the case of Bishop Auckland and Blyth Valley - for the first time since the seat was created.

Labour took Putney, in south-west London, from the Tories, in a rare bright spot for Jeremy Corbyn's party.

The BBC forecast suggests the Tories will get 362 MPs, Labour 199, the SNP 52, the Lib Dems 13, Plaid Cymru four, the Greens one, and the Brexit Party none.

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A row has already broken out at the top of the Labour Party, with some candidates blaming Jeremy Corbyn's unpopularity on the doorstep and others blaming the party's policy of holding another Brexit referendum.

Leave-supporting Labour chairman Ian Lavery, who held his seat with a reduced majority, said he was "desperately disappointed", adding that voters in Labour's "heartlands" were "aggrieved" at the party's Brexit stance.

Downing Street said that if the exit poll was correct, and Mr Johnson was returned to Downing Street, there would be a minor cabinet reshuffle on Monday.

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill, paving the way for Brexit on 31 January, would have its second Commons reading on Friday, 20 December.

A major reshuffle would take place in February, after the UK has left the EU, No 10 added, with a Budget statement in March.

This is the UK's third general election in less than five years - and the first one to take place in December in nearly 100 years - and has been dominated by Britain's 2016 vote to leave the European Union.

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Mr Johnson focused relentlessly on a single message - "get Brexit done" - promising to take the UK out of the EU by 31 January 2020 if he got a majority.

Labour primarily campaigned on a promise to end austerity by increasing spending on public services and the National Health Service.

Nigel Farage said his Brexit Party had taken votes from Labour in Tory target seats, although he himself had spoiled his ballot paper "as I could not bring myself to vote Conservative".

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