London, 13 December 2019 (dpa/MIA) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his projected victory in a snap election has given his government a “powerful mandate” for Brexit.
“This one-nation Conservative government has been given a powerful mandate to get Brexit done,” Johnson said after winning re-election to his parliamentary seat in west London.
The “historic” election will allow the government to “respect the democratic will of the people,” he said, referring to the 52 per cent who voted for Brexit in a 2016 referendum.
The Conservatives are predicted to win some 360 seats from about 41 per cent of votes under under Britain’s constituency-based, first-past-the-post system.
That would give Johnson a majority of about 60 in parliament, according to forecasts after results in 500 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, and pave the way for him to pass his Brexit deal.
The opposition Labour party, under left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn, is expected to win about 200 seats, down 60 from the last election in 2017.
“This is truly historic change we are witnessing,” tweeted Matthew Goodwin, a political analyst at the University of Kent.
“Total wipeout for Labour,” Goodwin added.
Corbyn said he does not plan to lead Labour into another general election.
“This is obviously a very disappointing night for the Labour party,” Corbyn told constituents after winning re-election to his parliamentary seat in north London.
“I will not lead the party in any future general election campaign,” he said, promising to oversee a “process of reflection” in Labour.
Corbyn’s “indecision and uncertainty” over Brexit was a major factor in his party’s losses, said cabinet office minister Michael Gove, a senior member of Johnson’s government.
“If this result is right, then it does seem to me to reinforce [the point] that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party has proved an impediment to moving this country forward,” Gove told broadcaster ITV.
Corbyn had vowed to negotiate a better Brexit deal and put it to another binary referendum, with remaining in the EU as the other option. Corbyn had said the Labour leadership would stay neutral in a new referendum.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) is expected to secure 54 seats, while the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats is projected to win 13.
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson lost her seat in the Scottish constituency of East Dunbartonshire by just 149 votes to an SNP candidate.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon called it a “good night” for her party.
“What it indicates UK-wide though is grim,” Sturgeon tweeted.
“We do not want to leave the EU and we want Scotland’s future to be on Scotland’s hands,” she told the BBC later, adding that the election had given her a mandate for a new referendum on Scottish independence.
Markets appeared boosted by the projected Conservative majority, which lends Britain’s Brexit path some predictability, at the least for the coming months.
The pound spiked by more than 2 per cent off the back of the projected results, trading at 1.347 dollars. Sterling also rallied by 1.4 per cent against the euro, rising within seconds of the exit polls by two euro cents to 1.205.
Initial results suggested a turnout of about 66 per cent, down two points from 2017, equating to some 30 million votes.