Johnson’s historic victory
Conservatives on course for landslide in party’s biggest success since Thatcher as Corbyn support collapses
BORIS JOHNSON is on course for an historic landslide victory today after an exit poll predicted an 86-seat Conservative majority.
The Tories are predicted to win 368 seats – 50 up on 2017 – in what would be their best result since 1987.
On a catastrophic night for Labour, Jeremy Corbyn’s party was predicted to end the day with just 191 seats, down 71 on the last election in their worst result since 1935.
Seats held by Labour since 1918 were predicted to turn Conservative as Mr Johnson smashed through the “red wall” in the Midlands and the North.
It means the Prime Minister can forge ahead with his plan to get Britain out of the European Union by Jan 31, with a vote on his deal possible before Christmas.
It also means Mr Corbyn is almost certain to announce his resignation as Labour leader today, with John Mcdonnell reportedly lined up as a caretaker replacement.
Mr Corbyn has now cemented his place as the least popular, and least successful Labour leader in modern history, far outstripping Michael Foot’s disastrous performance in 1983.
The first indication that the poll prediction was turning to reality came at 11.30pm in the former mining town of Blyth in Northumberland, where a 7,915 Labour majority was wiped out in a seat held by Labour since it was formed in 1950.
The Tory candidate, Ian Levy, took the seat from Labour with a majority of 712. The constituency had been No85 on the Tory’s target list.
The other big winners of the night were the SNP, predicted to gain 20 seats to finish with 55 as Labour was also swept away in Scotland.
In England and Wales, Brexit appeared to have proved decisive, as Leave-supporting constituencies turned to Mr Johnson to get Britain out of the EU.
The Liberal Democrats are predicted to win 13 seats, leaving them back where they started in 2017 without any of the gains they had made through defections in the past two years.
It leaves Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson’s future in doubt, with even her status as an MP in the balance as the SNP appeared to have made major
Boris Johnson took his dog, Dilyn, along to vote in Westminster. Jeremy Corbyn, below, is expected to resign with Labour on course for its worst election result since the Thirties gains in East Dunbartonshire. If the result is confirmed today, Mr Johnson is expected to reshuffle his Cabinet over the weekend, ready for his Brexit Bill to be tabled in the Commons next week, with a vote on it possible a week tomorrow. There were reports that the House of Lords could be made to sit between Christmas and new year to accelerate the Prime Minister’s plans for Brexit and beyond.
After a nerve-shredding week for the Tories, in which polls had suggested their lead was being eaten away and the Labour turnout appeared to be higher than expected, the exit poll suggested a huge vindication for Mr Johnson’s tactics of concentrating on his “get Brexit done” message.
The joint BBC/ITV/SKY exit poll by IPSOSMORI spoke to 20,000 voters in 144 constituencies, and predicted a Conservative vote share of 46 per cent, their highest since 1970, with Labour managing just 32 per cent. The Brexit Party was predicted to win no seats.
The pound soared against the dollar and the euro as the exit poll came through. The pound was up 1.85 per cent to $1.342 and up 1.09 per cent to €1.202 within minutes of the announcement, the highest rate since
May last year. The predicted majority of 86 is only 16 seats short of Margaret Thatcher’s second victory in 1987, and would be a massive 61 seats larger than John Major’s last win in 1992, which no Tory leader had bettered until now.
Mr Johnson tweeted: “Thank you to everyone across our great country who voted, who volunteered, who stood as candidates. We live in the greatest democracy in the world.”
Among the Labour strongholds predicted to turn blue were Rother Valley, which has been Labour since 1918; Bolsover, held by Dennis Skinner since 1970; Bassetlaw, held by Labour since 1929; Great Grimsby, Labour since 1945; Bishop Auckland, Labour since 1935; Don Valley, Labour since 1922, with a 5,169 majority being defended by Caroline Flint; Leigh, also Labour since 1922, and Ashfield, a Labour seat since 1979.
Gareth Snell, the MP for Stoke-ontrent Central defending a majority of 3,897, said: “I’m going to lose badly and this is the start of 20 years of Tory rule.”
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said the Government would move quickly to “get Brexit done” if its majority is confirmed. She said: “As we have outlined throughout this entire campaign, the focus has been on Brexit.
“We’ve had gridlock in Parliament, we want to get Brexit done, we have heard the Prime Minister say this.
“Get it done before Christmas, introduce the legislation and get that moving in Parliament, moving the country out of that paralysis so we can invest in public services and get the country moving.”
Mr Mcdonnell, the shadow chancellor, said Brexit was “to blame” for Labour’s catastrophic result, and refused to point the finger at Mr Corbyn.
Bookies made Mr Corbyn an oddson 1/50 to be gone by the end of the week, with Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, the 9/4 favourite with Paddy Power to replace him. Rebecca Long-bailey, the shadow business secretary, was 7/2 second favourite, with backbencher Yvette Cooper at 9/1 and Angela Rayner, shadow health secretary, at 10/1.
Barry Gardiner, the shadow trade
IT WAS the earthquake moment that suggested that Boris Johnson was on course for a historic victory.
Blyth Valley, a Northumberland former mining constituency that has been a Labour stronghold since 1950, unexpectedly turned blue at around 11.30pm, signalling the start of an extraordinary realignment of British poli- tics that continued into the early hours of this morning.
Declared the winner by 712 votes, newly elected Tory MP Ian Levy could not quite believe what was happening as cheers for “Boris” rang out as he vowed to return to Westminster to “get Brexit done”.
The unprecedented moment appeared to set the scene for a Churchillian triumph for the Conservatives not seen since the days of Margaret Thatcher. 1
It was always going to be case of cometh the hour, cometh the man. With Brexit hanging in the balance and Britain facing the prospect of being taken over by a profligate, anti-semitic Marxist, there was only ever one Conservative politician who could carry the nation beyond what has been the most divisive period in political history since the Second World War.
Yet an exit poll predicting a Tory majority of 86 suggested that the Prime Minister had not just smashed through the so-called Red Wall but consigned Jeremy Corbyn’s hard-left Communist cabal to the annals of history.
Pummelling Labour into the worst drubbing since 1935 – worse even than Michael Foot’s humiliation of 1983 – the projection suggested the electorate had given a two-fingered salute to the Momentum-stoked politics of hate that has consumed the once venerable Labour Party.
Reflecting three and a half years of public anger over Brexit, the 368-seat projection for the Tories was an unashamed reflection of the silent majority’s determination to get Brexit done in
As in 2016, the Westminster bubble burst as the metropolitan elite was again proved to be out of kilter with the wider electorate
the face of those who have done everything in their power to betray the referendum result. Anyone reading Twitter in the run up to the nail-biting exit poll reveal at 10pm could have been forgiven for expecting a repeat of 2017 and another hung parliament.
Yet, as in 2016, when 17.4 million people voted to Leave, the Westminster bubble burst as the metropolitan elite was once again proved to be completely out of kilter with the wider electorate.
“Magic Grandpa” had spent the day recording viral videos in a bid to encourage a youthquake not seen since his name was being chanted at Glastonbury in 2017. But last night, no one was cheering “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn”.
As the Nightmare Before Christmas appeared to have been averted, the pound surged as an altogether different hashtag started trending on social media: #Corbynout.
Projected to win just 13 seats, the exit poll also appeared to sound the death knell on the Liberal Democrat’s illiberal and undemocratic quest to revoke Article 50 as well as the fate of all those defectors who conspired to block Brexit.
Even Labour leavers faced the chop as their traditional voters punished MPS for their party’s endless prevarication over Brexit. This wasn’t just a rejection of revocation but a second referendum too.
Having once been labelled the party of the rich, the Tories looked set to move into new working-class territory, beating the Brexit Party to win seats that had never even contemplated voting Conservative before.
Some had worried the party’s overcautious approach might backfire against arguably the riskiest rival candidate for prime minister this country has ever known.
In what had at times felt like an agonisingly drawn out and arduous campaign, Mr Johnson played it uncharacteristically safe, refusing to be grilled by Andrew Neil and reduced to endlessly repeating soundbites.
But in the end, prudence triumphed over profligacy. The low-risk strategy proved to be high reward.
Having sensibly set expectations low at a modest “nine more seats”, Mr Johnson’s shock projected victory – coming after some polls put him just five points ahead on Wednesday – suggest he has not only saved Brexit but also revived the future of One Nation Conservatism in Britain. This morning, the UK may breathe a collective sigh of relief but the hard work is yet to begin. Having won the battle of capitalism over socialism, Mr Johnson now needs to win the war to get Britain out of the EU by the end of next month – and secure a free trade deal with Brussels before Dec 31, 2020.
However, unlike his first 120 days in office, he will no longer have to worry about the House of Lords thwarting the Withdrawal Agreement for under the Salisbury Convention, peers cannot oppose a second or third reading of any government legislation promised in its manifesto.
The Prime Minister has been elected on the basis of the majority of ordinary, decent, hard-working people believing he will honour his promise to get Brexit done. But enormous trust has also been placed in his pledge to unleash Britain’s potential outside of the EU, not just in London and the South East but also in those long-forgotten towns in the Midlands and the North that have placed their trust in an alternative ideology.
An entire nation’s hopes are resting on Mr Johnson picking up the pieces of what many regard as our broken democracy and moving the Union Kingdom forward, together as one.