Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party on Friday won a 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 UK out of the European Union next month.
The party took the 326 seats needed and looked set to win in a landslide.
With about half the results declared, Johnson said it looked like the Conservatives had “a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done.”
The victory will 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.
Corbyn called the result “very disappointing” for his party and said he would not lead Labour into another election, though he resisted calls to quit immediately.
Many British Jews breathed a sigh of relief at Corbyn’s defeat. “The relief among the Jewish community is palpable. And the gratitude. But as the days and weeks move on, there is something on which we will reflect: the willingness of so many of our so-called allies to campaign for and embrace Jeremy Corbyn,” tweeted Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle newspaper.
Boris Johnson in Grodzinski bakery in Golders Green campaigning on the morning of December 5, 2019
Results poured in early Friday showing a substantial shift in support to the Conservatives from Labour, after an exit poll predicted the 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 also projected 55 seats for the Scottish National Party — a big increase — and a lackluster 13 for the centrist, pro-EU Liberal Democrats. Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson lost her own Scottish seat.
The prospect of Brexit finally happening more than three years after Britons narrowly voted to leave the EU marks a momentous shift for both the UK and the bloc. No country has ever left the union, which was created in the decades after World War II to bring unity to a shattered continent.
But a decisive Conservative victory would also provide some relief to the EU, which has grown tired of Britain’s Brexit indecision.
Britain’s departure will start a new phase of negotiations on future relations between Britain and the 27 remaining EU members.
Header: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses with his dog Dilyn as he leaves from a Polling Station, after casting his ballot paper and voting, in central London on December 12, 2019, as Britain holds a general election. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)