Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won his very first general election, sweeping aside all contenders to register what may be the largest Conservative victory in a generation. In an election that was described by all as little more than another Brexit referendum, the nation spoke loudly and clearly that it rejects the idea of remaining in the European Union.
P.M. Johnson now has a large working majority and can set about executing the referendum result of 2016. Whether he chooses to do so will be the test of his yet unformed legacy.
While several constituencies have yet to declare their final counts, the next Parliament will look something like this (649 out of 650 seats reporting):
Conservative: 364 ( + 47 )
Labour: 203 ( – 59 )
Scottish National Party: 48 ( + 13 )
Liberal Democrat: 11 ( – 1 )
Democratic Unionist Party: 8
Sinn Féin: 7
Plaid Cymru: 4
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Alliance Party: 1
With 326 seats needed for a majority, Boris Johnson now commands a House of Commons that can push the agenda he campaigned on, including, most importantly for the 43.5% of Brits who voted for him, finalizing Brexit.
No election assessment would be complete without a list of the heavy hitters who were jilted during the result count. Notably, both of these “Big Beasts” of politics campaigned on the premise of remaining in the E.U.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, has managed to retain his Islington North seat in Parliament, but, being the leader of a party that has had its worst result in almost a century, he had to step down.
In his resignation speech, he declared that:
“We will forever continue the cause for Socialism, for Social Justice, and for a society based on the needs of all, rather than the greed of a few. That is what makes our party what it is.”
Mr. Corbyn has been on the frontline of the fight for socialism for more than 30 years. In a campaign that sparked international interest, even the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) saw fit to put in her two cents, tweeting in support of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party:
“The hoarding of wealth by the few is coming at the cost of peoples’ lives. The only way we change is with a massive surge of *new* voters at the polls. UK, Vote!”
Jo Swinson – leader of the Liberal Democrats – lost her seat in Parliament by just 149 votes in Dunbartonshire East. As per her party’s rulebook, without a constituency, she can no longer be the party leader.
The LibDems campaigned on a platform of overturning Brexit, and while it was always unlikely that they would gain the most seats, it was thought that a form of coalition government between themselves and the Labour Party would prove true the idea that Britain had changed its mind about Brexit. Apparently not.
Nigel Farage’s newly formed Brexit Party failed to win any seats in this election, yet the night was not a total loss for the man who is the public face of the Brexit movement. In fact, it would not be unfair to say that the party’s targeted campaigning in traditional Labour Party heartlands was integral to Jeremy Corbyn’s failure.
In the north of England, generation upon generation have voted Labour; for cultural and historical reasons, many seats have not been held by a Conservative M.P. for more than 50 years. Regarded as safe seats, the Brexit Party offered voters a palatable alternative that in many constituencies took enough votes away from the incumbent to allow a Tory victory.
What Comes Next?
The Conservative Party now has an opportunity to steer legislation through the House of Commons and deliver on manifesto promises. World leaders have sent out messages of congratulations, many making offers of future partnerships and continued cooperation. President Trump tweeted a message of support, writing:
“Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!”
As Boris Johnson said before entering 10 Downing Street as Britain’s new prime minister, “Let’s get Brexit done. But first, let’s get breakfast done.”
Read more from Mark Angelides.