Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a speech early Friday after hailing a “historic” election result that gives his Conservative Party the parliamentary majority needed to deliver Brexit by January 31, 2020.
The PM won a decisive majority in Thursday’s general election, clinching a “stunning victory for the Brexit cheerleader that paves the way for the UK Parliament to trigger a long-delayed split with the European Union”.
Johnson’s Conservatives secured a majority in Britain’s 650-seat House of Commons, marking the party’s strongest performance at an election since 1987.
With one seat yet to be declared, the party had won 364 seats, 79 more than all the others combined.
The Wall Street Journal reports: “The scale of the victory makes it all but certain that Britain will leave the EU at the end of next month, completing a divorce that was backed by voters in a 2016 referendum but that has been bogged down in the country’s Parliament for more than three years.
“It also signals a once-in-a-generation realignment of Britain’s electoral map, with scores of long-held working-class seats in England and Wales switching to the Conservatives.
“That puts Britain in line with a host of other Western countries, including the U.S., where shifting voter loyalties since the financial crash of 2008 have changed the political landscape.”
BBC Notes: 326 seats represent a majority. As of 4:40 am ET – 649 constituencies out of 650 counted.
In his victory speech to supporters, “he struck a conciliatory tone, acknowledging that his triumph had in part been based on the support of people who had only ‘lent’ their votes to him”. He also pledged “to invest heavily in the National Health Service, education and tackling climate change”.
“We will never take your support for granted,” he said.
On Brexit, he also promised that the UK would leave the EU by the end of January 2020, with “no ifs, no buts”.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Labour Party was on track to score its worst election performance since 1935, with a tally of 203 seats.
“The outcome appeared to sink the leadership of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who campaigned on the party’s most left-wing manifesto in decades with proposals for large increases in government spending the and nationalization of key industries.
“Early on Friday, he said he wouldn’t run in the next election but would remain at the helm of his party during a period of “reflection and discussion” as it transitions to a new leader,” the report said.
“He promised extra government spending to reverse some of the effects of a decade of public belt-tightening since the financial crash. But his triumph came largely on the back of a simple message that a vote for the Conservatives would ‘Get Brexit Done’.
“The picture was different in Scotland, where the pro-independence Scottish National Party won 48 of the country’s 59 seats, a gain of 13 districts. That outcome likely puts Scottish independence back on the political agenda.
“The leader of the pro-EU Liberal Democratic Party, Jo Swinson, resigned after losing her seat in Scotland to the SNP.
“There were also significant shifts in the balance of power in Northern Ireland, which is a part of the UK,” the report added.
“For the first time, the region elected more lawmakers who favour unification with Ireland than those who support continued membership of the UK.
“The number of nationalists elected to Parliament rose to nine from six, while the number of unionists fell to eight from 10. The Democratic Unionist Party, which backs Brexit and had supported the Conservatives in Parliament, lost two seats.”
In terms of dollars and cents, the British pound rose sharply late Thursday as the first exit poll was released, surging 2.5 percent against the dollar and reaching its highest level since May 2018.
“The vote marks a remarkable turnaround for Mr. Johnson, who in the space of five months renegotiated a Brexit divorce deal with the EU and rallied his divided party and Britain’s exasperated voters behind it.”
- Top Feature Photo: Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to supporters after the Conservatives won the general election. BEN STANSALL/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES