The British conservatives have claimed victory in the UK’s national election in a win that sets the stage for Brexit to finally take place.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party has won a majority of 86 seats in Britain's election, giving him the numbers in parliament he needs to deliver Brexit on January 31.
An exit poll on Friday morning showed Johnson's Conservatives would win 368 seats, enough for a comfortable outright majority in the 650-seat parliament. Labour were forecast to win 191 seats, the Scottish National Party 55 seats and the Liberal Democrats 13.
With 640 of the 650 results declared, the Conservatives had 358 seats and Labour 202.
It was set to be the Labour party’s worst defeat in nearly a century.
“If these numbers bear out this is a very significant victory for the Tories and we're on our way out of the EU next month, and Labour has just taken their worst defeat,” the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg tweeted Friday morning.
The Conservatives have reached 325 seats, cannot now be beaten.— Antony Green (@AntonyGreenABC) December 13, 2019
Brexit deal set to trump ‘manifesto of hope’
Brexit was the predominate issue of this election with Jonson promising to get it done next month while a Labour victory would have likely meant a new referendum on the issue.
The deal he negotiated with the EU is “oven-ready ... to get Brexit done” if a Conservative majority can push it through a new parliament, Johnson said at a campaign event yesterday.
Johnson, 55, also pledged to limit immigration and negotiate liberal post-Brexit trade deals with the United States and other non-EU nations.
Veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn offered a radical “manifesto of hope”, promising to renationalise key industries, invest massively in infrastructure and provide free broadband services.
Corbyn, 70, promised that Labour would hold a second referendum and ask voters to choose between a newly negotiated Brexit deal and staying in the EU.
Corbyn steps down from leadership
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn conceded he will not lead the party to the next election after the exit poll showed the Conservatives winning a comfortable majority.
Speaking in his London electorate on Friday Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he will not lead the party to the next election.
He said Brexit had contributed to the election result, polarising debate and overriding other issues.
“I want to also make it clear that I will not lead the party in any future general election campaign,” he said.
“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.”
Election ‘too toxic’ for some voters
Londoners braved wet and dreary weather to go to the city's polling stations, with most analysts tipping a comfortable parliamentary majority for the Conservatives.
Healthcare worker Charlotte Alexander said she would normally support the local Conservative candidate, “but it's too toxic to vote for a national campaign where all the moderate people who perhaps think more like me have been expunged,” the AAP reported.
Ms Alexander voted for the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats, describing the nation's choice between the two main parties - Johnson's Conservatives and the opposition Labour party - as “a choice between far-right and far-left”.
“I'm a Remainer but I'm resigned to Brexit,” said another woman, who gave her name as Louise. She said she had cast her ballot for the Conservatives.
“It can only cause further confusion and paralysis if we go on as we are so I don't want a hung parliament,” she said.
About two-thirds of eligible voters - more than 30 million people - were expected to take part in the election.
Post Brexit negotiations loom
If the exit poll is accurate Johnson will swiftly ratify the Brexit deal he struck with the EU so that the United Kingdom can leave on January 31 – 10 months later than initially planned.
For Johnson, whose brief tenure in power has been marked by chaotic scenes in parliament and stark division on the streets over Britain's tortuous departure from the European Union, the victory in Thursday's contest is vindication.
Educated at the country's most elite school and recognisable by his bombastic style, the 55-year-old must not only deliver Brexit but also convince Britons that the contentious divorce, which would lead to lengthy trade talks, is worth it.
with Yahoo UK and AAP
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