Boris Johnson hails Brexit mandate after big election win
‘Let’s get breakfast done’: Rampant Boris Johnson pledges not to betray millions of first-time Tories who have entrusted him with 80-SEAT majority to deliver Brexit in a new one-nation government – as Labour suffers worst result since 1935
- Voters have handed the Conservatives a whopping 365 seats in election with Labour collapsing to just 203
- The result means a huge 80-strong Commons majority and is the worst Labour showing in modern history
- Labour strongholds tumbled in the North East as the Conservatives laid waste to the so-called ‘red wall’
- Tories pulled off jaw-dropping results in constituencies like Workington, Blythe Valley and Bishop Auckland
- There were small crumbs of comfort for Remainers as tactical voting defeated the Conservatives in Putney
- Big Labour names ousted in the rout include Laura Pidcock in North West Durham, touted as a future leader
- Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson humiliatingly lost her East Dunbartonshire constituency to SNP and had to quit
Triumphant Boris Johnson ordered Remainers calling for a second referendum to ‘put a sock in it’ today as he hailed his staggering election landslide.
After laying waste to Labour’s ‘red wall’ of Leave-backing strongholds, the PM said he had been given a ‘powerful’ vote of confidence by the British people and would work ‘night and day’ to repay their trust.
He said the election rout had finally settled the Brexit issue, saying pressing ahead was now the ‘irresistible, unquestionable decision of the British people’.
And in a stark message to those who have been pushing for a rerun of the 2016 Brexit contest, he said: ‘That’s it. Put a sock in the megaphone.’
He joked: ‘Let’s get Brexit done. But first, let’s get breakfast done.’
The bullish speech to activists in Westminster, which was followed by a victory stroll into Downing Street with girlfriend Carrie, came as the Conservatives racked up a stunning tally of 365 seats in the first December election for nearly a century.
Jeremy Corbyn announced this morning that he will quit as leader after Labour humiliatingly collapsed to 203 – down 59 on 2017.
But Mr Corbyn petulantly swiped at ‘disgusting’ media attacks on him, saying he still believed his hard-Left platform was ‘popular’, and blamed Brexit for preventing ‘normal political debate’. He made clear he will stay on for a period of ‘reflection’ while a replacement is selected.
How good are the results for the Tories?
Margaret Thatcher pictured after her first election victory
Experts are now forecasting a majority of 80 for the Tories.
That would be the biggest since Margaret Thatcher’s landslide of 1987 – which was also driven by blue-collar Tory voters.
By contrast Labour’s 203 would be its worst since the 1930s – leaving his dream of a socialist Britain in ruins.
It would outdo even the showing by Mr Corbyn’s left-wing hero Michael Foot, who was famously put to the sword by Margaret Thatcher with just 209 seat in 1983.
Michael Foot with his disastrous 1983 Labour manifesto – known as the ‘longest suicide note in history’
The bombshell numbers would give Mr Johnson a huge Commons majority of 80, the biggest since Margaret Thatcher’s third victory in 1987, and more than enough to fulfill his vow to ‘get Brexit done’.
The Tories’ estimated vote share of 45 per cent in Britain is the highest achieved since Edward Heath in 1970.
In England the Conservatives polled 47.1 per cent to Labour’s 34.3 per cent, and in Wales they were supported by an impressive 36.1 per cent.
By contrast Mr Corbyn looks to have stewarded his party to its worst performance since 1935 and plunged it into a seething civil war – despite his allies vainly claiming earlier that high turnout might have helped him pull off a surprise.
In another moment of high drama, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson suffered the ultimate humiliation of losing her own East Dunbartonshire seat. And ironically the party’s Brexit spokesman Tom Brake lost his Carshalton base to the Tories.
As a delighted Donald Trump tweeted that it was ‘looking like a big win’ and teed up a ‘massive new trade deal’ with the US, Mr Johnson told a victory rally in Westminster: “In winning this election we have won votes and the trust of people who have never voted Conservative before and people have always voted for other parties.
‘Those people want change. We cannot, must not, must not, let them down.
“And in delivering change we must change too.
“We must recognise the incredible reality that we now speak as a one nation Conservative Party literally for everyone from Woking to Workington, from Kensington I’m proud to say to Clwyd South, from Surrey Heath to Sedgefield, from Wimbledon to Wolverhampton.”
He added: “Parliament must change so that we in Parliament are working for you the British people.”
Speaking at his count in Uxbridge and South Ruislip earlier, told rapturous supporters, including girlfriend Carrie and their dog Dilyn, that he had not wanted to call the December election but the outcome was ‘historic’.
And in an address to staff at CCHQ afterwards, Mr Johnson said: ‘We must understand now what an earthquake we have created.
‘The way in which we have changed the political map in this country.
‘We have to grapple with the consequences of that. We have to change our own party. We have to rise to the level of events. We have to rise to the challenge that the British people have given us.’
The Conservatives pulled off a massive coup by securing the symbolic swing constituency of Workington, overturning a 3,000 majority to triumph by 4,000 votes with a 10 per cent swing.
They also overturned an 8,000 majority to rip the former mining area of Blythe Valley in Northumberland from Labour’s grip for the first time ever. The party’s candidate won by 700 votes after securing an incredible 10.2 per cent swing in what was theoretically only 85th on the target list.
There were jaw-dropping gains in Bishop Auckland – which had never elected a Conservative MP in 134 years – and Tony Blair’s old stronghold of Sedgefield.
Boris Johnson waved for the waiting cameras as he walked into Downing Street with his partner Carrie Symonds today
In a speech in Westminster, Mr Johnson said the election rout had finally settled the Brexit issue, saying pressing ahead was now the ‘irresistible, unquestionable decision of the British people’
Left-wing ‘Beast of Bolsover’ Dennis Skinner was ejected from the seat he has held since 1970, as Mr Johnson flipped huge swathes of the country from deep red to Tory blue.
Other fortresses to fall included Leigh, Darlington, Wakefield, Stockton South, Redcar – which saw a 15.5 per cent swing – Peterborough, Wrexham and the Vale of Clywd.
As the political map was redrawn in a few tumultuous hours, places like Jarrow, Houghton & Sunderland South, Sunderland Central, and Newcastle Upon-Tyne Central saw enormous movements from Labour to the Conservatives – although the party clung on.
A pattern was emerging of Brexit Party candidates draining votes from Labour in its northern heartlands, while Tory support held steady.
In a few crumbs of comfort for Remainers, Cabinet minister Zac Goldsmith lost to the Lib Dems in the heavily Remain seat of Richmond Park.
Putney was taken from the Conservatives by Labour thanks to tactical voting by Lib Dem supporters. And Labour’s Rosie Duffield kept hold of Canterbury – one of its marquee captures from the 2017 poll.
However, a cross-party bid to eject Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in Esher & Walton and Tory ex-leader Iain Duncan Smith in Chingford and Wood Green failed. And Kensington was painted blue again, having briefly been held by Labour’s Emma Dent Coad.
There were scenes of jubilation in CCHQ as the exit poll was unveiled at 10pm, with staff singing and dancing following a month of brutal political struggle as Mr Corbyn tried desperately to sell his hard-Left agenda to the UK public.
Boris Johnson was in celebration mode today as he left CCHQ after thanking staff for their role in his stunning election win
Mr Johnson and his partner made a rare public display of affection as the reality of his victory started to sink in
A triumphant Boris Johnson arrived for his count in Uxbridge and South Ruislip with girlfriend Carrie Symonds this morning
While Mr Johnson was feted by supporters, Jeremy Corbyn cut a forlorn figure at his count in Islington as he announced he will step down as Labour leader
Carrie brought Dilyn the dog to watch Mr Johnson’s victory speech in his constituency in the early hours of the morning
In another moment of high drama, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson suffered the ultimate humiliation of losing her own East Dunbartonshire seat
Boris Johnson (pictured at his count in Uxbridge this morning) hailed a ‘mandate to get Brexit done’ as he marched his new blue-collar Tory army towards a staggering election landslide
Donald Trump voiced his delight on Twitter at the ‘big win’ for Mr Johnson in the most important election for a generation
The initial exit poll suggested the Tories were going to do even better, with 368 seats and Labour collapsing to 191.
However, the numbers were scaled back a bit as more actual results came through.
The SNP are predicted to get 46 MPs – up from 35 two years ago – and the Lib Dems have gone into reverse on 11 after a dismal all-out Remain campaign.
Mr Corbyn’s dream of a Socialist Britain is now in ruins, with his time in charge of the party doomed to end in failure.
Labour’s expected tally of 203 would be worse than the showing by his hero Michael Foot, who was famously put to the sword by Thatcher with just 209 seat in 1983.
As the picture emerged, Mr Johnson tweeted a ‘thank you’ to ‘everyone across our great country who voted, who volunteered, who stood as candidates’.
Fist-pumping Sturgeon celebrates rival’s defeat
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was being filmed as the result was declared in East Dunbartonshire
Nicola Sturgeon was caught on camera wildly celebrating Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson’s defeat.
The SNP leader was being filmed as the result was declared in East Dunbartonshire.
Ms Swinson lost her seat by around 150 votes, capping a dismal night for the pro-Remain party.
Posting a picture of himself with workers carrying a ‘we love Boris’ sign, he said: ‘We live in the greatest democracy in the world.’
In an amazing piece of understatement, an ashen-faced shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the exit poll was ‘disappointing’ and blamed it on Brexit. ‘I thought it would be closer,’ he said.
‘The poll itself, I think it looks as though it’s Brexit dominated, a lot of this I think was Brexit fatigue, people just wanted it over and done with and it put Labour in a very difficult position.’
Speaking to BBC News, Mr McDonnell said: ‘We thought other issues could cut through and there would be a wider debate, from this evidence there clearly wasn’t.’
On the future of Mr Corbyn’s leadership, Mr McDonnell said: ‘Let’s see the results themselves, as I say, the appropriate decisions will be made and we’ll always make the decisions in the best interests of our party.’
But Labour moderates were jubilant, with one source who had expected a narrow result telling MailOnline: ‘Never been so pleased to be wrong.’ Former Labour MPs said the ‘Great Leader’ should immediately resign along with his hard-Left clique.
Dame Margaret Hodge, who repeatedly condemned Mr Corbyn over the anti-Semitism that has been rampant in Labour since he took charge, said: ‘This is the utter failure of Corbyn & Corbynism. There is no other way of looking at it.’
Amid reports of ‘mega’ turnout and unprecedented levels of tactical voting by Remainers, Tories had become nervous that victory could somehow slip from their grasp, despite a slew of polls during the campaign having given them a double-digit advantage.
But the fears proved unfounded, as the party’s mantra of ‘get Brexit done’ swung previously rock-solid Labour supporters. And in the end turnout appears to have actually fallen by 1.49 per cent on the 2017 figure to jut over 67 per cent.
The pound immediately jumped 3 per cent against the US dollar on the news, as markets breathed a sigh of relief at the prospect of clarity on Brexit and no anti-business Labour government.
Mr Johnson could not hide his elation as he walked into CCHQ this morning with Carrie and aides in the early hours today
Without explicitly claiming victory, Mr Johnson tweeted a ‘thank you’ to ‘everyone across our great country who voted, who volunteered, who stood as candidates’
A shocked looking Jeremy Corbyn was bustled out of his house by aides at 11pm (left) as the scale of his catastrophe became clear. He managed a limp thumbs up for the cameras as he arrived at his countr in Islington North (right)
John McDonnell was visibly shaken by the exit poll during an appearance on the BBC. He said the numbers were ‘extremely disappointing’
Ian Levy, the mental health worker who won Blythe Valley for the Tories (pictured centre), said in his victory speech: ‘I would like to thank Boris.’
A rare setback for the Tories saw Cabinet minister Zac Goldsmith lose to the Lib Dems in the heavily Remain seat of Richmond Park this morning
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government would move quickly to ‘get Brexit done’ before Christmas by introducing legislation in Parliament if it is returned to power.
Mr Johnson was fighting for votes right to the last minute, tweeting to urge supporters to cast their ballots as he campaigned in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat.
And his strategy of focusing relentlessly on Brexit looks like being completely vindicated, as Labour faces a brutal rout.
Labour’s previous worst tally came in 1935
In 1935 Clement Attlee could claim Labour was on an upward trajectory
Labour’s forecast tally of 199 seats would be the worst for the party since 1935.
But at that stage the leader, Clement Attlee, could claim the party was on an upward trajectory.
Labour increased its numbers on that occasion by 102, and its share of the popular vote by 7.4 per cent.
Attlee went on to serve in Winston Churchill’s wartime Cabinet, and then defeated the famous leader in 1945.
That Labour government created the NHS and arguably created the modern welfare state.
After the Blythe Valley result was declared, flabbergasted ex-chancellor George Osborne said: ‘We never thought we’d get Blythe Valley. We had hopes in a place called Tynemouth, which we might come to later.
‘There’s a Conservative candidate in Hexham who I heard a couple of days ago saying ‘we are going to win Blythe valley’ and I thought he was always a bit optimistic, this guy. But he was right and that is a pretty spectacular win.’
Ian Levy, the mental health worker who won the seat for the Tories, said in his victory speech: ‘I would like to thank Boris.’
The first big Labour scalp claimed by the Tories was shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman, who lost Workington.
Labour’s Gareth Snell predicted his own defeat ahead of the result in another former stronghold, Stoke-on-Trent Central, saying: ‘I’m going to lose badly and this is the start of 20 years of Tory rule.’
All the Tory Remainer rebels who stood as independents, including David Gauke and Dominic Grieve, failed to win seats.
And Labour defectors to the Lib Dems Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger fell short.
On a dreadful night for the Lib Dems, they also did not manage to secure top target Cheltenham. Alex Chalk managed to defend the seat, which voted 57 per cent to Remain.
Boris Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds tweeted: ‘Gutted to hear that @ZacGoldsmith hasn’t been re-elected in Richmond. We have lost a truly decent, hardworking MP.
‘I know I will continue to work with him to promote animal welfare and protect our oceans & environment. Zac is one of my heroes.’
After she was ousted from her East Dunbartonshire constituency, Ms Swinson was automatically barred from continuing as leader.
‘Let me say now, for millions of people in our country these results will bring dread and dismay and people are looking for hope,’ she said.
‘I still believe we as a country can be warm and generous, inclusive and open and that by working together with our nearest neighbours we can achieve so much more.
Labour’s defeat ‘worse than 1983’, says polling guru John Curtice
Labour’s defeat is ‘more serious’ than when the party was trounced in 1983, polling guru Professor Sir John Curtice has warned.
The party’s stunning reverse in its traditional heartlands makes this result more of an existential threat, Sir John insisted.
‘There is a striking contrast between Labour’s defeat this time and the one in 1983 that perhaps might lead one to think this is the more serious defeat,’ he told BBC News.
‘Back in 1983, when by the way Labour got a lower share of the vote than they got this time, what enabled Labour in 1983 to defend itself against what was no more 28 per cent share of the vote was that it held on to its traditional areas of strength.
‘It did relatively well in the north of England, it did relatively well in the more working-class parts of the country.
‘The striking thing about this election is the way in which it performed most-worse in the north of England, in the Midlands, in working-class seats.’
‘Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for these values that guide our Liberal movement – openness, fairness, inclusivity. We will stand up for hope.’
As the breathtaking sequence of turnarounds continued, Tories secured swings of up to 20 per cent to take a wrecking ball to the ‘red wall’.
Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland the DUP was suffering a torrid time – with its Westminster leader Nigel Dodds losing his North Belfast seat to Sinn Fein after other Remain-backin parties gave them a clear run.
Mr Trump was clearly pleased with the boost for his ally, and quickly announced that he will step up the push for a TransAtlantic trade pact.
‘Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT,’ the president said.
‘This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!’
Labour former Cabinet minister Ed Balls suggested Mr Corbyn’s weak response to the Salisbury nerve agent outrage – urging the government to send the Novichok samples to Moscow for testing – was a big factor.
‘Salisbury was quite immediate in people’s minds and the terror attack in London,’ he told ITV.
‘This manifesto had a much bigger price tag than 2017 and I’m afraid the cumulation of nationalisations and spending commitments meant that lots of Labour voters were saying ‘does it add up and who is going to pay for it?
‘It wasn’t only about Brexit. It’s a line in the Corbyn team but it’s not going to wash at all.’
Former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson said the party’s losses would be down to Mr Corbyn’s unpopularity on the doorstep.
He said: ‘It’s Corbyn, it’s Corbyn. The Corbynistas will make an argument that victory is a bourgeois concept, that ‘the only goal for true socialists is glorious bloody defeat’.
‘And now we’ve just had another one. And there’ll be all the conspiracy theories thrown about. It’s Corbyn. We knew that in Parliament.
‘We knew he was incapable of leading, we knew he was worse than useless at all the qualities you need to lead a political party.’
In a furious attack on the left-win cabal that hijacked Labour, Mr Johnson said: ‘I want them out of the party. I want them gone. Go back to your student politics.’
A leaked copy of Labour’s so-called ‘lines to take’ document – prompts given to senior figures ahead of appearances on TV – sparked fury among many of the party’s candidates because they suggested people should solely blame Brexit.
Jacob Rees-Mogg saw off a Lib Dem challenge in his North East Somerset constituency despite spending much of the campaign in hiding after making comments about Grenfell during a radio interview
Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon tried to blame Brexit for the Labour Party’s poor general election showing
Paul Bristow (pictured right being congratulated by fellow Tory MP Shailesh Vara) won back Peterborough for the Tories
Labour chairman Ian Lavery, who held on in Wansbeck with a much reduced majority, blamed Brexit for the disaster rather than the leader
Lord Buckethead seemed to be enjoying himself at the count in the PM’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency today
The document said ‘this defeat is overwhelmingly down to one issue – the divisions in the country over Brexit, and the Tory campaign, echoed by most of the media, to persuade people that only Boris Johnson can ‘get Brexit done”.
But shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott hinted that she wants Mr Corbyn to hang on.
Corbyn-ocalypse! Labour leader breaks cover amid calls for him to quit
Jeremy Corbyn has broken cover amid growing calls for him to quit as the Labour Party faces one of its worst ever sets of general election results.
Mr Corbyn is on course to lead Labour to a tally of just 191 seats according to a bombshell exit poll which has been borne out by a series of crushing defeats to the Tories in previously safe seats.
If that number is where the party finishes the election it would be even worse than Labour’s recent low watermark under Michael Foot in 1983 when it crashed to just 209 MPs.
Mr Corbyn, who was spotted leaving his London home just after 11pm, is now under increasing pressure to resign after failing to get anywhere close to winning power in back-to-back elections.
His allies tried to deflect blame away from him as they said Brexit was the cause of the party’s dismal showing.
But Labour MP candidates responded to the exit poll by claiming it demonstrated the ‘utter failure of Corbyn & Corbynism’.
Numerous Labour big beasts put the boot in as former home secretary Alan Johnson said Mr Corbyn was ‘worse than useless’ while former shadow chancellor Ed Balls slammed the attempt to blame Brexit as he said that was ‘not going to wash at all’.
An ashen-faced John McDonnell said the numbers were ‘extremely disappointing’ as he all but conceded defeat.
The shadow chancellor cited an election focus on the UK’s departure from the EU as the cause of Labour’s woes – an argument also made by shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon.
‘This is clearly a bad night for Labour, which requires careful analysis. But it could be much worse than a bad night for all those who rely on our public services and the NHS. Which means we still need a leadership that fights for the many, not the few,’ she tweeted.
Labour chairman Ian Lavery, who held on in Wansbeck with a much reduced majority, blamed Brexit for the disaster rather than the leader.
‘The big difference is that in 2019 we promised a second referendum,’ he told he BBC. ‘And people are suggesting, quite rightly, why should there be a second referendum when they had a referendum in 2016. That’s the issue. It’s not Jeremy Corbyn. It’s Brexit, and ignoring democracy.’
Shadow cabinet minister Dawn Butler also dodged questions on whether Mr Corbyn should resign.
‘I think, it’s so early on the evening. I think we really have to wait, and then we really have to reflect quite seriously about where we go and the direction of travel for the Labour Party,’ she told Sky News.
Momentum chief Jon Lansmann argued that Mr Corbyn should not be ejected immediately.
‘I think Jeremy has to make those decisions himself. You know Jeremy has always been a reluctant leader, I don’t think he’ll overstay his welcome,’ he said.
‘But I think he should be able to make decisions. And I don’t think we should rush into these things. Christmas is not far away, I don’t think decisions really need to be taken about this until the New Year.’
A Conservative spokesman tried to dampen the jubilation after the exit poll – which forecast the result to within a few seats two years ago.
‘This is a projection, not a result, it’s important we wait to see the actual results when they come in,’ the spokesman said.
‘What we do know is that voters have rejected Labour’s fudge on Brexit. We needed this election because parliament was doing all it could to frustrate the will of the people.
‘A functioning majority would mean we can now finally end the uncertainty and get Brexit done. It would allow the country to come together and move forward by delivering the change people voted for in 2016. ‘
Arch-Remainer Hugh Grant was snapped aghast as he read the election exit poll tonight which predicted the collapse of pro-EU parties and a thumping majority for Brexiteer Boris Johnson
Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan trolled Grant and his fellow Labour-supportin ‘Luvvies’ on Twitter tonight
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage claimed his decision to stand down in Tory-held seats was critical in delivering the victory for Mr Johnson
A Labour spokesman said: ‘We, of course, knew this was going to be a challenging election, with Brexit at the forefront of many people’s minds and our country increasingly polarised.
‘But Labour has changed the debate in British politics. We have put public ownership, a green industrial revolution, an end to austerity centre stage and introduced new ideas, such as plans for free broadband and free personal care. The Tories only offered more of the same.’
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage claimed his decision to stand down in Tory-held seats was critical in delivering the victory for Mr Johnson.
General election 2019: Exit poll in full
Conservative Party: 368 (+50)
Labour Party: 191 (-71)
SNP: 55 (+20)
Liberal Democrats: 13 (+1)
Plaid Cymru: 3 (-1)
Speaking to BBC News, Mr Farage said: ‘I can tell you that if we had stood in every seat in the country it would have been a hung parliament. ‘That would have been a disaster … I think the Liberal Democrats would have won an awful lot of seats.’
On Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal, Mr Farage said: ‘If the current treaty on the table with the political declaration passes unamended I can’t bring myself to support it.
‘Look, I’ve spent my political career trying to get Brexit, alright. We’re going to get Brexit. Are we going to get the right one? Maybe not.’
Arch-Remainer Hugh Grant was snapped looking disconsolate as he was shown the exit poll on a mobile phone.
The politically outspoken actor had been canvassing with Labour and Lib Dem candidates during the campaign and urged his fans to vote tactically to deny the Conservatives in marginal seats.
But as he tonight laid eyes on these parties’ woeful performance, the Love Actually star looked down-trodden with his wife Anna Eberstein.
In a short and sour admission of defeat, Grant tweeted: ‘There goes the neighbourhood,’ a reference to Britain now likely pulling out of the EU.
He joined a chorus of glum Remain celebrities who voiced their misery as the prospect of second Brexit referendum went up in smoke.
Going into today, Mr Johnson’s lead in the polls was narrowing and he hoped to secure a swathe of northern Labour seats to give the majority that eluded Theresa May in 2017 – when she won 318 seats to Labour’s 262.
But Labour sources had claimed its traditional vote was holding up. ‘It doesn’t feel like there’s any real move towards Johnson or away from Corbyn,’ one source said. ‘I think we could easily see almost exactly the same result as last time.’
However, another Tory fighting to keep a seat in the north east said they believed turnout was ‘good’ among their own supporters.
Another Conservative source agreed that turnout looked ‘mega’.
But they added: ‘No way to know if it’s really up or if people are just voting early because it’s winter and they don’t want to do it after work.’
Mr Johnson’s hopes had appeared to be put into the balance earlier as voters turned out in their millions to take part in the crucial election.
Constituencies across the country reported the longest queues seen at polling stations for years today, sparking fears of a Remainer ‘youthquake’ that could derail attempts to leave the EU.
Thousands snaked around the block outside schools, village halls, churches, pubs and other community buildings in the wet and cold to exercise their democratic right at the UK’s 50,000 polling stations from 7am.
The exit poll shows voters handing the Tories a massive 368 seats, with Labour languishing on 191 – down 71 on 2017 and the worst performance in modern history
Election officials were frantically counting the votes in Strangford as the drama developed tonight
Counting is carried out at Sunderland Tennis Centre, with the Tories looking to smash Labour’s ‘red wall’ and redraw the political map
Michelle Dewberry (pictured tonight) has been fighting to win Hull West & Hessle for the Brexit Party
Boris Johnson was out campaigning in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat hours before the polls closed
The Prime Minister tweeted (left) appealing for Conservative supporters to go out and cast their ballots. Mr Farage (right) said a win for the Mr Johnson was better than ‘Marxist Corbyn’
Britain’s Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson holds his dog Dilyn after voting in the general election at Methodist Central Hall in London today
Jeremy Corbyn gives a thumbs up after casting his vote in the 2019 General Election at the polling station at Pakeman Primary School in Islington, north London
Voters described the longest queues they have ever seen at polling stations, including here in Putney, south-west London, as Britain holds a generation-defining election with the future of Brexit at its heart
Boris Johnson brought his dog Dilyn to vote at Westminster’s Methodist Central Hall yesterday – the polling station closest to Downing Street
High turnout is traditionally seen as a sign that Labour has managed to mobilise its younger and working class voters, who have in the past been less likely to make the journey to the ballot box.
What is the exit poll?
The exit poll provides the first real indication of winners and losers from the most important election in a generation.
The figures have been produced by eminent pollsters including Sir John Curtice, Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher.
They have spent the day asking tens of thousands of people which way they votes, as they left 144 ballot stations across the country.
Individuals fill in a mock ballot paper and drop it into a mock ballot box to encourage truthfulness.
The team then calculates a prediction for seats won by the parties – which is kept a closely guarded secret until the polls close at 10pm.
The last exit poll in 2017 was a bombshell as it predicted – correctly – that Theresa May was being stripped of her overall majority.
However, the exit poll and the first seats to declare suggest that if the turnout was strong it has failed to help Labour.
There have been claims that the crowds suggest that the turnout for the first December general election since 1923 could be the highest since Clement Atlee and Sir Winston Churchill fought to be PM in the 1950s.
Turnouts dropped in the UK following Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997 but have started to rise again in recent national votes.
It has been an anxious few days for Mr Johnson, as his lead was whittled down to its narrowest of the whole election.
One poll yesterday estimated there were just five points separating the parties – although others showed a much wider gap.
Mr Johnson’s party was on 41 per cent but Mr Corbyn’s leftwingers had made up ground and are now on 36 per cent, according to Savanta ComRes for the Telegraph.
After six weeks on the campaign trail, Mr Johnson gave his dog Dilyn a big kiss and voted early at the nearest polling station to No 10 Downing Street.
But he was without his partner Carrie Symonds on the biggest day of his political life, after she chose to cast her ballot for the Tories in Richmond.
Phil Wilson, who is defending the Sedgfield seat previously held by Tony Blair, delivered an excoriating assault on Mr Corbyn on Twitter this morning
At the University of Kent, there were huge queues of students waiting to cast their vote. Students lined up along one pavement as they waited patiently to have their say
But naughty Dilyn ws also spotted with Ms Symonds as she posed with voters supporting Zac Goldsmith in Richmond
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his wife Laura Alvarez were joined by supporters as he came to vote in North Islington
Boris Johnson’s father Stanley voiced delight at the exit poll as he appeared on Channel 4’s election night coverage
The Tory leader voted at the Methodist Central Hall next to Westminster Abbey rather than in his Uxbridge constituency – a highly unusual move because Prime Ministers traditionally vote where they are standing as candidates.
Mr Corbyn, accompanied by his wife Laura, also voted early in his ultra-safe Islington North constituency.
As the polls opened Mr Johnson tweeted: ‘Today is our chance to get Brexit done. Vote Conservative’.
Meanwhile Mr Corbyn wrote on social media: ‘Vote Labour to save our NHS, to bring about real change and create a country that works for the many, not the few’.
Pound soars to highest level since July 2016
The pound has surged to its highest level against the euro since July 2016 after an exit poll showed Boris Johnson on course to win a big majority in the general election.
Shortly after 10pm, the pound rose about two per cent against the dollar to reach $1.3469 and was up 1.6 percent against the euro at €1.2054.
Sterling was at its highest against the euro since the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum, and its highest in more than a year against the dollar.
The expected election result will end the months of deadlock in the House of Commons and bring an end to the uncertainty over Brexit.
It will also put an end to Jeremy Corbyn’s hopes of imposing higher taxes and nationalising industries.
Millions of voters faced inclement weather with torrential rain and ice across vast swathes of the country before the polls closed at 10pm.
A major YouGov poll on Tuesday predicted a 28-seat Tory majority – the largest since 1987 – but pollsters said the situation was so volatile that Britain could face another hung parliament.
A No 10 spokesman confirmed that Mr Johnson had taken the unusual step to register to vote in Downing Street rather than his Uxbridge constituency.
‘The Prime Minister was proud to vote for Nickie Aiken, the fantastic Conservative candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster, who is committed to voting for the PM’s Brexit deal and getting Brexit done by January 31,’ she added.
Members of the public in a number of London constituencies have had to queue around street corners to vote in some of the busiest conditions they have seen.
‘I’ve voted at the same station and time for eight years, but have never had to queue before,’ said Craig Fordham, 45, from Putney, who had to wait for 15 minutes.
Chris Schofield queued for 20 minutes in the Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.
‘It’s about 20 times busier than it was in 2017, and for the locals and Euro elections,’ the 27-year-old consultant told PA.
‘Atmosphere is very London: orderly queueing and no-one is talking to each other!’
Mr Schofield said there were over 70 voters waiting outside, adding that there were at least three officers working at the station but only one taking addresses from voters.
Asked why he thought there were so many queuing, he said: ‘I think it’s the election of a lifetime for many of us.’
Alixe Bovey said she was queueing for 35 minutes in the Streatham constituency.
Sharing a photo of the queue outside her local station, she tweeted: ‘In 20 years of voting in Streatham Hill, always at about this time of day, I have never encountered a queue of more than six or seven people.
‘What is going on. The tailback is right up the road now.’
Ms Bovey said: ‘No idea what it means in my constituency – I’m in a super safe Labour seat.’
Voters in Bermondsey, south east London, faced difficulty getting to one polling station after an apparent burst water water main caused flooding in the road around it.
Hannah Tookey, who waded through the water to cast her vote, tweeted: ‘It was too deep to wade through the middle, even in wellies.’
Another voter, Graham Kings, was prevented from voting by the flooding in Bermondsey.
Labour’s Diane Abbott started off on the wrong foot today – as she appeared to go out campaigning with odd shoes on the wrong feet. At the end of a long and gruelling winter election campaign she turned out to support Labour colleague Meg Hillier in her neighbouring East London constituency of Hackney South. But Twitter users quickly spotted something was up when Ms Hillier posted a picture of them online. Ms Abbott appeared to be wearing two left shoes
in Woolwich, south-east London, a safe Labour seat, queues formed at a town centre polling station this morning
Voters in Bow, east London queue up to vote at a cafe/art gallery being used to serve the electorate today
Labour’s Diane Abbott started off on the wrong foot yesterday – as she appeared to go out campaigning with odd shoes on the wrong feet.
At the end of a long and gruelling winter election campaign she turned out to support Labour colleague Meg Hillier in her neighbouring East London constituency of Hackney South.
But Twitter users quickly spotted something was up when Ms Hillier posted a picture of them online.
Ms Abbott appeared to be wearing two left shoes.
But Twitter users quickly spotted something was up when Ms Hillier posted a picture of them online
Ms Abbott appeared to be wearing two left shoes from separate pairs of black loafers
They were at a supermarket in east London this morning
Ms Abbott speaking ahead of the election yesterday
One person wrote: ‘Mmmmm well done Dianne Abbott. Odd shoes and one of the shoes is on the wrong foot.’
Another said: ‘Two left shoes and odd shoes too!’
Ms Abbott, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, is defending a Labour majority of 35,000 in her Hackney North and Stoke Newington seat.
Ms Abbott has has a low key election campaign and has seldom featured at large events with Jeremy Corbyn.
He was greeted by a protester dressed as Elmo, a character from children’s TV programme Sesame Street as he arrived to cast his vote in north London this morning.
The woman was restrained by security guards as she tried to approach Mr Corbyn as he entered the polling station.
As the woman in fancy dress argued with security and police, Mr Corbyn said: ‘Hello guys, can we stop the arguments please.’
He later posed for photographs with a small number of supporters and well-wishers outside the polling station at Pakeman Primary School in Islington with his wife Laura Alvarez.
Fifty infamous moments that shame Jeremy Corbyn: The list of incidents that call into question the Labour leader’s credentials to be prime minister
Jeremy Corbyn has been branded a threat to national security by everyone from his own shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth to former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove.
During his long career in politics, he has held meetings with and appeared at rallies with enemies of Britain including IRA bombers and Islamist extremists.
The Labour leader claims he has always wanted to bring about peace and talk to all sides in conflicts.
But the list below, which originated online before being reviewed and separately confirmed by the Mail as to its accuracy, would appear — at the very least — to call into question Mr Corbyn’s claim and his credentials to be prime minister.
Mr Corbyn’s supporters say that he has always stood up for minority groups who are oppressed by larger, more powerful states, and has always sought dialogue and peace.
This means, however, that he sometimes shares platforms with people whose views he does not share, be they in the Middle East or in Northern Ireland.
He said in 2015: ‘I am absolutely committed to a meaningful peace process between Israelis and Palestinians and that has to be one based on the 1967 borders. I am proud to have been one of the first politicians prepared to engage in dialogue with Irish republicans about a peace process in Northern Ireland in the 1980s.’
This is the list of what Mr Corbyn has done:
Jeremy Corbyn can be seen in October 2014, attending a wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of one of the 1976 Munich massacre terrorists
1. Invited two IRA members to Parliament two weeks after the Brighton bombing
2. Attended Bloody Sunday commemoration with bomber Brendan McKenna
3. Attended meeting with Provisional IRA member Raymond McCartney
4. Hosted IRA-linked Mitchell McLaughlin in Parliament
5. Spoke alongside IRA terrorist Martina Anderson
6. Attended Sinn Fein dinner with IRA bomber Gerry Kelly
7. Chaired Irish republican event with IRA bomber Brendan MacFarlane
8. Attended Bobby Sands commemoration honouring IRA terrorists
9. Stood in minute’s silence for IRA gunmen shot dead by the SAS
10. Signed Early Day Motion after IRA massacre, blaming Britain for the deaths
11. Arrested while protesting in support of Brighton bomber’s co-defendants
12. Lobbied Government to improve visiting conditions for IRA killers
13. Attended Irish republican event where calls were made for armed conflict against Britain
14. Put up £20,000 bail money for IRA terror suspect Roisin McAliskey
15. Said banned terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah were his ‘friends’
16. Called for Hamas to be removed from terror banned list
17. Attended wreath-laying at grave of 1976 Munich massacre terrorist (above)
18. Attended conference where Hamas and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were present
19. Photographed at rally in front of Hezbollah flag
20. Attended rally with members of banned Al-Muhajiroun
21. Repeatedly shared platforms with plane hijacker
22. Accepted £20,000 for appearing on state TV channel of terror-sponsoring Iranian regime
23. Opposed banning Britons from going to Syria to fight for ISIS
24. Defended rights of fighters returning from Syria
25. Voted to let ISIS fighters return from Syria
26. Opposed police ‘shoot to kill’ policy
27. Signed letter defending Lockerbie bombing suspects
28. Accepted £5,000 donation from academic who said ‘Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism’
29. Chaired Stop The War, which praised the ‘internationalism and solidarity’ of ISIS
30. Shook hands with cleric Raed Salah after he had been found guilty of incitement to terrorism
31. Shared platform with representative of extremist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr
32. Compared ISIS to U.S. military in interview on Russia Today
33. Opposed proscription of extreme Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir
34. Backed Holocaust-denying anti-Zionist extremist Paul Eisen
35. Criticised drone strike that killed Jihadi John
36. Failed to unequivocally condemn the 9/11 attacks
37. Called Colombian terror group M-19 ‘comrades’
38. Gave speech in support of Gaddafi regime
39. Voted against banning support for the IRA
40. Voted against the Prevention of Terrorism Act three times during the Troubles
41. Voted against emergency counter-terror laws after 9/11
42. Voted against stricter punishments for being a member of a terror group
43. Voted against criminalising the encouragement of terrorism
44. Voted against banning al-Qaeda
45. Voted against control orders for terror suspects
46. Voted against increased funding for the security services to combat terrorism
Meeting: Gerard McLaughlin (far left) and Jeremy Corbyn (far right) with bespectacled Gerry Adams and Tony Benn at the House of Commons in 1994
47. Helped convicted IRA bombmaker Gerard McLaughlin (above left with Corbyn) get a job after he got a council flat
48. Said ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi should have been arrested rather than killed
49. Went to court to support an IRA fixer
50. Co-sponsored Irish Republican event that called jailed bombers ‘prisoners of war’
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