Boris Johnson’s gamble of calling a snap general election has gone better than probably even he hoped. By 5am on Friday, the Conservative Party had officially won the 326 seats needed for a majority.
The prime minster has declared a mandate to “get Brexit done”, killing off any chance of a second referendum as hoped for by pro-Remain campaigners.
The final result forecast at 6am
Conservative majority: 78
Conservatives – 364
Labour – 203
LibDems – 12
SNP – 48
Green – 1
DUP – 8
Sinn Fein – 7
Plaid Cymru – 4
Alliance – 1
SDLP – 2
Boris Johnson has won, and won big
The Tories claimed swaths of the Labour heartlands, including Blyth Valley, a Labour seat since 1950. Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman became the first senior figure to be deposed when she lost Workington to the Conservatives on a 10% swing.
More Labour seats across the north of England, the Midlands and Wales followed suit, including Bishop Auckland, Wolverhampton North East, West Bromwich West, Stockton South, Darlington, Peterborough, Blackpool South, Wrexham and the Vale of Clwyd. Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner was unseated in Bolsover, where he had been the MP since 1970.
In a sign of how the election result points to a seismic reshaping of the political map, an analysis of the result by the FT showed that, the higher the share of workers in low-skilled jobs in a constituency, the better the Tories performed. Opposition parties also fell short of of knocking out big Tory names such as Dominic Raab and Iain Duncan Smith.
Jeremy Corbyn will resign
Jeremy Corbyn announced he will not lead Labour into the next general election. But he will not step down immediately. Instead he pledged to oversee “a process now of reflection on this result”.
Speaking in his constituency of Islington North in the early hours of Friday morning, Corbyn admitted the election had been “very disappointing”. He also hit out at the “disgraceful” and “disgusting” behaviour of the media.
“I’m very proud of the achievements of our party and the development of its manifesto and its ideas,” he said. “I tell you what, those ideas and those principles are eternal and they will be there for all time.”
Labour’s leadership contest is underway
With Corbyn announcing his departure, the manoeuvring is underway. Critics of the Corbyn project have laid the blame squarely at the feet of the outgoing leader and his allies for pushing the party too far to the left. But Corbyn’s political friends have said it was Brexit that cost them the election, not the party’s domestic policy platform.
The leading contenders to take over include shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry.
Backbencher Jess Phillips, who is a fierce critic of Corbyn, has suggested she could run, while Wigan MP Lisa Nandy dropped a hint she could enter the race when she said it would be her “mission” to “bring Labour home” to voters. Yvette Cooper, who lost to Corbyn in the 2015 leadership contest, has not ruled out a second bid.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor and a close ally of Corbyn, ruled himself out. Laura Pidcock, another ally of Corbyn who had been seen as a likely candidate, lost her seat.
Jo Swinson lost her seat
The Lib Dems launched their campaign with the ambition to win “hundreds” of seats. Swinson claimed she was a viable candidate to be prime minister. But her decision to support the snap election backfired spectacularly as she lost her own seat of East Dunbartonshire by 149 votes to the SNP. She blamed a “wave of nationalism” that has swept politics on both sides of the border for her narrow loss.
The Lib Dems are on course to finish with 12 MPs – eight fewer than they had when the election was called. One bright spot for the party was its victory over former Tory London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith in Richmond Park.
SNP claim mandate for independence
Nicola Sturgeon has said she has a “renewed, refreshed and strengthened” mandate for a second vote on Scottish independence, as the SNP made a series of gains. The exit poll projected the party would pick up 49 of Scotland’s 59 seats.
Defecting did not work
The 2017 parliament was characterised by defections, resignations and expulsions. But MPs who left Labour and the Conservatives to set up the The Independent Group/Change UK and then moved to the Lib Dems failed to get re-elected including Chuka Umunna, Sam Gyimah and Luciana Berger.
David Gauke, the former Tory justice secretary who stood as an independent, lost. Dominic Grieve, the former Tory attorney general who helped lead the fight against a no-deal Brexit in the Commons, lost in Beaconsfield.
Nigel Dodds ousted
Nigel Dodds, the DUP’s deputy leader and its leader in Westminster, lost his Belfast North seat to Sinn Fein’s John Finucane. It is the first time a nationalist has ever won in the constituency.
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