UK’s ruling Conservatives win overall majority in general election

Boris Johnson
UK PM Boris Johnson

London: The UK’s ruling Conservative Party on Friday won an overall majority in the general election as Prime Minister Boris Johnsons gambit to bolster his parliamentary support appeared to have paid off, while the opposition Labour Party earned its worst results since 1935.

The Conservatives have gained a 74-seat majority in the House of Commons for a total of 334 (a 45-seat gain) as the right-wing party snatched traditional strongholds from dozens of Labour candidates, Efe news reported.

“It does look as though this One-Nation Conservative government has been given a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done,” a jubilant Johnson said after he was easily re-elected to his seat in Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

The Prime Minister said that his party’s victory would provide a “chance to respect the democratic will of the British people, to change this country for the better and to unleash the potential of the entire people of this country”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, on the other hand, appeared solemn as he announced he would not be leading the party into a future general election after leaving it at just 201 seats (a net loss of 57) – the lowest tally since 1935, when Clement Attlee, who would later on become premier in the aftermath of World War II, won 154 seats.

Until now, Labour’s worst results in the post-war era had been in 1983, during the apex of Margaret Thatcher’s rule, when it obtained 209 MPs.

“Obviously it is a very disappointing night for the party,” Corbyn told supporters at his Islington North counting party. “But I want to say this… in the election campaign we put forward a manifesto of hope.”

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats leader, Jo Swinson, narrowly lost her seat to the Scottish National Party (SNP) in East Dunbartonshire, a constituency she had represented for over 12-years.

“Some will be celebrating the wave of nationalism sweeping both sides of the border, and I do congratulate all those elected,” Swinson said. “But let me say now, for millions of people in our country, these results will bring dread and dismay, and people are looking for hope.”

The national vote share after 622 of the 650 constituencies stood at 43.3 per cent for the Conservatives (a 1.2-per cent increase compared to the June 2017 election), 32.9 per cent Labour (a 7.9-point slump), 11 per cent Liberal Democrats (+4.1), 3.9 per cent SNP (+0.9), 2.7 per cent Greens (+1.1) and 2.1 per cent for the Brexit Party.

Turnout during the election on Thursday hovered at 67 per cent of the 47.59 million registered voters who had been called to the ballot box, 1.6 per cent less than in the 2017 general election.

US President Donald Trump seemed happy with the preliminary results, tweeting: “Looking like a big win for Boris in the UK.”

Johnson inherited a minority government from his predecessor Theresa May, who lost her majority in a miscalculated decision to call a snap election in 2017 in a bid for a mandate to proceed with Brexit.

She stepped down earlier this year after the lower chamber of lawmaking rejected her Brexit withdrawal deal three times.

With a comfortable majority, Johnson should have little issue pushing the withdrawal deal through, finalizing the terms of the divorce with the European Union before starting the process of negotiating a new trade deal with the European bloc.

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