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General election: Boris Johnson wins huge election victory and 'stonking mandate' for Brexit

13 December

Boris Johnson says he's "ended the gridlock" in British politics by delivering the Conservatives' best general election result since 1987 - achieved by tearing seats from Labour in its heartlands.

With all the UK's 650 constituencies having declared their results, the Tories won 365 seats to deliver a huge House of Commons majority of 80.
It was the largest majority of any government since 2001 and the Conservatives' highest number of seats since Margaret Thatcher was their leader.
Key points:

The prime minister this morning visited the Queen to form a government having secured what he described as a "powerful new mandate to get Brexit done", after the party won 47 more seats than in the last election in 2017.
Speaking at a victory rally in Westminster before sunrise this morning, Mr Johnson hailed a political "earthquake" which saw Labour support crumble in its heartlands in the face of a Conservative landslide.
He told Tory activists: "We did it, we pulled it off didn't we?
"We broke the deadlock, we ended the gridlock, we smashed the roadblock."
He added: "With this election I think we've put an end to all those miserable threats of a second referendum."
Mr Johnson said "politicians have squandered the last three years, three and a half years in squabbles", but "this election means that getting Brexit done is now the irrefutable, irresistible, unarguable decision of the British people".
"I will put an end to all that nonsense and we will get Brexit done on time by the January 31 - no ifs, no buts, no maybes," he said.
And he had a message for the traditional Labour voters who switched sides and "lent" the Conservatives their vote.
"Your hand may have quivered over the ballot paper as you put your cross in the Conservative box and you may intend to return to Labour the next time round," said the PM.
"If that is the case, I am humbled that you have put your trust in me... and I will never take your support for granted."
Meanwhile - as their fabled "red wall" of seats in the North and Midlands crumbled in the face of Mr Johnson's pro-Leave message - Labour suffered their worst election result, in terms of seats, since 1935.
They won 203 seats - some 59 seats down on their result at the 2017 election.
Jeremy Corbyn responded by announcing he would not lead Labour in any future general election campaign after a "very disappointing night".
But he suggested he would not be departing as Labour leader immediately and would instead oversee a "process of reflection" in the party.
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson also suffered a miserable night, after failing to secure re-election to parliament by losing her East Dunbartonshire seat to the SNP.
Her party will hold a leadership election in the New Year to choose her successor.
"This is clearly a setback for liberal values," she said after the Lib Dems failed to make a breakthrough on Thursday night.
"But there are millions of people across the country who believe in them.
"By coming together to fight for them, we can create a positive future."
Her party won 11 seats, down one from 2017.
Ms Swinson's loss in her constituency came as the SNP also gained other seats to return to near-complete dominance across Scotland. The party claimed 48 seats, a rise of 13 compared with two years ago.
SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon refreshed her call for a second Scottish independence referendum as she claimed her country and the rest of the UK are on "divergent paths".
She announced plans to formally demand the Scottish parliament be given the power to hold a second vote on leaving the UK before Christmas.
For the first time in Northern Ireland's history, nationalist MPs were set to outnumber unionist MPs, after the DUP lost two seats.
This included the DUP's Westminster leader Nigel Dodds losing his North Belfast seat.
The foundation of the Conservatives' election victory was based on winning a swathe of seats in Leave-supporting areas, many of which had been held by Labour ever since they were created.
The result suggests a fundamental realignment of UK politics, with many of those constituencies won by the Tories on Thursday night having delivered large Labour majorities under former prime minister Tony Blair.
These include seats such as Bolsover, which had been held by Labour since it's creation in 1950, and Newcastle-under-Lyme, which had been held by Labour since the end of the First World War.
In a recording obtained by website BuzzFeed, Mr Johnson told aides at the Conservative Party's headquarters that "no one can now refute" his "stonking mandate" to deliver Brexit.
He added: "We must understand now what an earthquake we have created. The way in which we have changed the political map of 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 must... we must answer the challenge that the British people have given us."
However, it was not a complete success for Mr Johnson on Thursday night, with the Tories' losing seats in Remain-supporting areas such as Putney, won by Labour, and St Albans, won by the Lib Dems.

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General election: Jeremy Corbyn to quit as Labour leader after disastrous night

13 December

Jeremy Corbyn is to stand down as Labour leader following a "period of reflection".

The party won its lowest number of seats since 1935 as support crumbled in its former heartlands, with the Conservatives winning a majority of 80.
Mr Corbyn blamed Brexit for Labour's poor showing as he accepted victory in his Islington North constituency, while also criticising media "attacks" towards himself, his family and the party.
"I want to also make it clear that I will not lead the party in any future general election campaign," he announced in a speech early on Friday morning at his constituency count in Islington, north London.
"I will discuss with our party to ensure there is a process now of reflection on this result and on the policies that the party will take going forward.
"And I will lead the party during that period to ensure that discussion takes place and we move on into the future."
Later, Mr Corbyn said he was "very sad" at the party's performance but emphatically denies his policies were the cause of Labour's downfall.
"I don't think they are un-electable at all," he insisted.
"Of course I take responsibility for putting the manifesto forward but I have to say the manifesto was universally supported throughout our party and throughout our movement."
Mr Corbyn added "I've done everything I could to lead this party" but claimed "I don't think the result would have been any different" under a more centrist leader.
He said the "responsible thing to do is not to walk away" and he would stay in post "until there has been someone elected to succeed me" which should be in the "early part of next year".
Asked what he would do next, Mr Corbyn said he would remain an MP and "continue to do the campaigning work I've done all my life".
The anti-war campaigner, who has represented Islington North since 1983, ran as an outside candidate for the party leadership in 2015 and managed to outlast two Tory prime ministers.
But facing his second general election defeat, Mr Corbyn announced that he would call it a day as leader as he was re-elected in his London seat.
In the 2017 election, Mr Corbyn saw his party win 262 seats. That figure has fallen, with the party winning 203.
The writing appeared on the wall when the Tories managed to win the former mining area of Blyth Valley for the first time ever.
Labour had held the seat since it was formed in 1950, but the Conservatives managed to overturn a majority of almost 8,000 - a 10.2% swing.
Many in the party have insisted Brexit was to blame for Labour's losses - however others pointed the finger firmly at the leadership.
Labour clung on to several North East seats include Newcastle Central, Sunderland Central, Newcastle-upon-Tyne East and Houghton and Sunderland South, but with much reduced majorities.
And in her victory speech, Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott said it had been a disastrous evening for the party and it must change.
"The party I have been a member of for 35 years has let the country down by not being good enough to win against this awful Tory government.
"People on the doorstep have repeatedly said to me they cannot vote for this party.
"They will come back to us if we become a radical party for change on the centre-left ground which is where we win elections.
"I will play my part... the country needs a Labour government."

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General election: The big winners - and the big beasts who lost

13 December

Unprecedented Conservative gains across England made it an incredible election night for Boris Johnson - and a nightmare for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour.

Swipe left through the cards below to see all the biggest winners and losers.

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General election: The map of British politics has been redrawn

13 December

The electoral map of British politics has been dramatically transformed - returning the Conservative Party with a large majority and increased share of the vote for the third election in a row.

While the promise to "Get Brexit Done" was at the heart of Boris Johnson's campaign, the roots of how Britain voted can be traced back to long before the vote to Leave the EU on 23 June, 2016.
In the election, the Conservatives made significant advances across the country - most notably in Leave-voting towns across the Midlands and the North of England, and in Wales too, winning seats held by Labour for generations that previously would have been thought guaranteed.
Labour's vote collapsed in many northern heartlands, while the fall in its vote was less in major cities and parts of the South of England, most notably London.
It was symbolic that Labour lost seats it had held since 1945 or before - such as Bassetlaw, Redcar, Wrexham and Workington - but won a solitary seat in fashionable Putney.
The party of the coalfields and factories has seen its fortunes rise with the younger, professional voters in the capital while it has lost its connection with its traditional base.
These trends confirmed analysis by Sky News a year ago that identified towns as key to the path for any party to a parliamentary majority.
The Conservatives made their biggest gains in larger towns, while their vote in the UK's major cities bucked the national trend, falling very slightly. Labour lost support everywhere but its vote collapsed most steeply in towns - a problem that some in the party have been highlighting for some time.
In Scotland, the SNP again proved an unstoppable electoral force, winning 48 seats not far off the heights of 2015. The Conservatives were far behind in second place on just six seats, and Labour's gains in 2017 were decimated leaving it with just one MP north of the border.
As the moment of Brexit nears, the clamour for Scottish independence will not go away any time soon.
Britain's new divides
The election exposed the new dividing lines of British politics. Brexit has blown apart old loyalties and seen the emergence of new electoral strongholds.
Repeating the pattern observed in 2017, the Conservatives made their largest gains in areas that had voted to Leave in the EU. Some of Labour's heaviest defeats were in constituencies that had voted for Brexit by a margin of more than 60%.
But this election is not only a story about Brexit. The result reflects the changing nature of places and fundamental shifts in the basis of party support.
It was once said "class is the basis of British party politics, all else is embellishment and detail".
In 2019, the sharpest divide of all was not class, but education. The largest swings from Labour to the Conservatives were in constituencies with fewer graduates and more people with no qualifications.
A similar pattern is observed for age, with the largest swings from Labour to the Conservatives in constituencies with older populations.
This partly reflects the greater propensity for younger people to also have higher levels of education than older generations, but also generational differences in values and identities - on issues such as Brexit and climate change.
The long-term realignment of British politics
As the Labour vote has been swept away, the character of the Conservative vote has changed beyond recognition.
The 2019 election delivered the result that many had expected in 2017. British politics has been remade. While 2019 was the Brexit election, the changes to our electoral landscape will reverberate for some time.
Those changes reflect the realignment of party support over a much longer period than just the last three years.
Looking back over the last five elections, since 2005, the largest swings from Labour to the Conservatives have been in constituencies where more than 50% of people voted to Leave the EU in 2016.
Labour had already started to lose its grip on those traditional heartlands well before Brexit - due to demographic changes that have seen the populations of towns getting older, while cities have become younger and more diverse.
Education is perhaps the foremost factor behind this realignment of British politics.
People with university degrees tend to be more socially liberal and likely to vote for Labour, whereas the Conservatives - once upon a time the party of the professional classes - have increasingly gained support in areas with larger numbers of voters with no qualifications.
Will Jennings is an election analyst for Sky News and professor of political science and public policy at the University of Southampton.

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General election: Battle for the soul of Labour after crushing election defeat

13 December

Reassuring voters that your party leader will not be in his job for long after a general election is a novel campaign tactic for any candidate.

But for one prospective Labour MP, it was clearly seen as a necessary step to win support from households uneasy about Jeremy Corbyn.
Some may question the ethics, but looking at the results overnight, the strategy seems sound enough.
The candidate in question won their seat.
Jeremy Corbyn meanwhile will walk out of his job after leading the party through a "process of reflection" following this thumping defeat.
The Conservatives' rapid Brexit timetable means there will be no immediate time for Labour to lick its wounds though.
Boris Johnson's Brexit deal will be put before MPs in the coming days, with some suggesting the crucial vote could come just 48 hours before Christmas.
Despite the overnight drubbing, many in Labour will want the party to be doing its job as the opposition and scrutinising the Tory plans fully.
The break-neck speed laid out for agreeing a trade deal with the EU will also mean plenty of political meat for MPs to get their teeth into as the New Year unfolds.
All the more reason for a solid succession plan to be mapped out by Labour well in advance.
A sharp spring back to the political centre seems unlikely though.
Jeremy Corbyn's four years at the helm have seen the political infrastructure of Labour re-shaped in an attempt to secure his legacy.
The party's powerful governing body, the National Executive Committee, is now dominated by left-wingers.
Reforms to how Labour's leadership contests are run also make it more likely that the successor will be fully signed up to the current trajectory.
Then there is the symbolic role Jeremy Corbyn could take on.
His desire for a painless resignation may see him become something of a father figure to the party - the man responsible for re-casting Labour as a socialist force once again.
Against that backdrop, his successor may not jettison too many of the radical policies that characterised the party's last two manifestos.
But that doesn't mean there won't be a battle over the direction Labour goes in and the tone it takes in its offer to the country.
Brexit will remain part of this debate but the contours will be broader and concern whether Labour has become too metropolitan and too detached from voters in its traditional heartlands.
The crumbling of the so-called "red wall" of Leave-voting Labour seats in the Midlands and the North will lead to calls for the party to turn itself into a more socially conservative, patriotic and even eurosceptic movement.
Labour Leavers point to the party winning student seats like Canterbury while losing heartland areas such as Bolsover as proof that the offering is out of kilter.
Expect to hear Northern MPs and future leadership contenders like Angela Rayner and Rebecca Long-Bailey hinting at this direction of travel - bolstered by a desire among many for Labour to elect its first ever female leader.
That may be a hard-sell to the overwhelmingly pro-EU membership though who would rather see an out-and-out Remainer like Keir Starmer or Emily Thornberry take the reins.
The challenge for the next leader will be holding these two flanks of Labour together - fusing the popular radicalism of the last four years to the more traditional political bedrock the party has historically set its stall on.
The binary nature of the Brexit choice and the shadow it has cast over politics recently has made that an impossible task for Jeremy Corbyn over the last three years.
Now stripped of any influence over Brexit by a solid Tory majority, Labour has an opportunity to get its own house in order.

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