Johnson claims 'powerful mandate for Brexit' as Conservatives celebrate election win

Written by Beckie Smith on 13 December 2019 in News
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Jo Swinson among biggest scalps claimed in disastrous night for Labour and Lib Dems

Boris Johnson delivers his victory speech. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The Conservatives' general election win has shown that delivering Brexit is the “unarguable decision of the British people”, Boris Johnson has said.

With just one seat left to announce this morning, the Conservatives had claimed 364 of the 650 seats in parliament after taking a number of Leave-backing seats in traditional Labour heartlands across the Midlands and north of England. The opposition lost 42 seats, taking its total to 203, while the Conservatives gained 66.

In a victory speech this morning, Johnson said the results showed that delivering Brexit was now the “irrefutable, irresistible, unarguable decision of the British people”.


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Earlier this morning, after being re-elected as MP for Uxbridge and Ruislip South, Johnson said his government had been given “a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done”.

“And not just get Brexit done but to unite this country and to take it forward and to focus on the priorities of the British people," he said.

The majority is likely to give Johnson the votes he needs to get his Brexit deal through parliament in time for the UK’s planned departure from the EU on 31 January.

The election saw few upsets for the Tories, but environment minister Zac Goldsmith lost his Richmond Park constituency to the Liberal Democrats’ Sarah Olney. The ex-Tory MPs David Gauke, Anna Soubry, Dominic Grieve and Sam Gyimah all lost out to their former party.

The leaders of both the Lib Dems and the DUP in Westminster, Jo Swinson and Nigel Dodds, both lost out.

Swinson, who lost her East Dunbartonshire seat to the SNP’s Amy Callaghan by just 149 votes, announced her resignation this morning after a disastrous night cut the number of Lib Dems in parliament almost in half. Ed Davey and Baroness Sal Brinton will be the joint acting leaders of the party ahead of a leadership election next year, the party said in a statement.

The Lib Dems now hold just 11 parliamentary seats, down 10 before the vote, with Chukka Umunna also among those who lost their seats. A swing to the Scottish National Party across Scotland meant the party gained 13 seats, bringing it to a total of 48.

SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the result should spell a second referendum on Scottish independence. “There is a mandate now to offer the people of Scotland a chance to decide their own future,” she told the BBC.

“Boris Johnson may have a mandate to take England out of the European Union, but he emphatically does not have a mandate to take Scotland out of the European Union.”

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said a second poll was not “inevitable”, telling ITV: “I don't believe that a second independence referendum would be right for Scotland or right for the United Kingdom.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has not yet resigned, but confirmed that he would not lead the party in any future election campaign.

He said he would stay on as leader during “to ensure there is a process now of reflection on this result and on the policies that the party will take going forward”.

Corbyn said it had been a “very disappointing election for the Labour Party” but insisted its policies were nevertheless “extremely popular”.

"Brexit has so polarised and divided debates in this country. it has overridden so much of a normal political debate, and I recognise that has contributed to the results that the Labour Party has received this evening all across this country," he said.

With one seat left to declare, the Conservatives had 364 seats, Labour 203, the SNP 48 and the Lib Dems 11. The DUP retained 8 of its 10 seats, the Greens' Caroline Lucas held onto the party's one seat, and the Brexit Party – which stood aside in Conservative-held seats – had none.

The outcome in Cornwall's St Ives constituency is due to be announced at 2.30pm after bad weather delayed a vote count on the Isles of Scilly.

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