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Boris Johnson claims ‘powerful new mandate’ for Brexit

/ 11:58 AM December 13, 2019

LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says it looks like his Conservative Party has won “a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done” in the country’s general election. He says the work of delivering Brexit will begin as soon as all the results are in.

 Boris Johnson claims 'powerful new mandate' for Brexit

British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his wife Laura Alvarez wait for the declaration of his seat in the 2019 general election in Islington, London, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. The first handful of results to be declared in Britain’s election are showing a surge in support for to the Conservatives in northern England seats where Labour has long been dominant. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Johnson called the election “historic” as he was announced the winner of his Uxbridge constituency in suburban London.

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Johnson’s Conservative Party appeared on course Friday to win a solid majority of seats in Britain’s Parliament— a decisive outcome to a Brexit-dominated election that should allow Johnson to fulfill his plan to take the U.K. out of the European Union next month.

It would also make Johnson  the most electorally successful Conservative leader since Margaret Thatcher, another politician who was loved and loathed in almost equal measure. It would be a disaster for left-wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who faced calls for his resignation even as the results rolled in.

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Early results showed a substantial shift in support to the Conservatives from Labour, after an exit poll predictedthe Conservatives would get 368 of the 650 House of Commons seats to Labour’s 191. In the last election in 2017, the Conservatives won 318 seats and Labour 262.

It would be the biggest Tory majority since Thatcher’s 1980s’ heyday, and Labour’s lowest number of seats since 1935.

The exit poll, regarded as a reliable though not exact indicator of the likely result, also projected 55 seats for the Scottish National Party and 13 for the Liberal Democrats.

As ballot papers were counted early Friday, the Conservatives took a swathe of seats in post-industrial northern England towns that were long Labour strongholds. Labour’s vote held up better in London, where the party managed to grab the Putney seat from the Conservatives.

A decisive Conservative win would vindicate Johnson’s decision to press for Thursday’s early election, which was held nearly two years ahead of schedule. He said that if the Conservatives won a majority, he would get Parliament to ratify his Brexit divorce deal and take the U.K. out of the EU by the current Jan. 31 deadline.

That message appears to have had strong appeal for Brexit-supporting voters, who turned away from Labour in the party’s traditional heartlands and embraced Johnson’s promise that the Conservatives would “get Brexit done.”

“I think Brexit has dominated, it has dominated everything by the looks of it,” said Labour economy spokesman John McDonnell. “We thought other issues could cut through and there would be a wider debate, from this evidence there clearly wasn’t.”

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Johnson did not mention the exit poll as he thanked voters in a tweet. “Thank you to everyone across our great country who voted, who volunteered, who stood as candidate,” he said. “We live in the greatest democracy in the world.”

GSG
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TAGS: Boris Johnson, Brexit, UK, world news
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