đź”’ UK election: Boris smashes Corbyn who resigns, Pound surges as Tories grab majority, Brexit next month

I had a call early this morning from an excited friend with substantial investments in the UK. His unbridled joy came after a night of watching the British Election results where the Conservative Party has surged to a comfortable victory with the British Pound following suit, enjoying its best session in two and a half years. The Tory Party’s colourful leader Boris Johnson has been given a firm mandate to extract his country from the European Union next month – appropriate as he was the leading personality in the “Leave” camp during the divisive 2016 Referendum. Analysts are calling this a “once-in-a-generation” realignment of British politics. The massive defeat for the Labour Party is its worst election result since 1935. It was also a strong vote against archaic socialist policies on which it leadership campaigned. Not surprisingly, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn resigned this morning. The result is also a powerful vote for Brexit, with many working class areas switching their decades long allegiance across to the Conservatives. – Alec Hogg

Boris Johnson secures a comfortable UK election win

(The Wall Street Journal) – LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson looked set to win a large majority in Thursday’s general election, an outcome that would mark a stunning victory for the Brexit cheerleader and pave the way for the UK Parliament to trigger a long-delayed split with the European Union.
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With more than 240 seats counted, pollsters projected the Conservatives were on track to capture 64 more seats than all the other parties combined in Britain’s 650-seat House of Commons. This was slightly lower than the 86-seat majority predicted by the first exit poll.

The estimates suggested the Conservatives would win 357 seats, the party’s best tally since Margaret Thatcher’s third election victory in 1987, while Labour looked set for its worst showing since 1935, winning 201 seats.

Speaking in his electoral district in west London, Mr. Johnson said the initial results suggested his government “has been given a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done.”

Describing the election as historic, he said it “gives us now in this new government the 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.”

The scale of the predicted victory all but ensures that Britain will leave the EU at the end of next month, completing a divorce that was backed by voters in a 2016 referendum but that has been bogged down in the country’s Parliament for more than three years.

It also suggests a once-in-a-generation realignment of Britain’s electoral map, with scores of long-held working-class seats in England and Wales predicted to switch to the Conservatives.

That would put Britain in line with a host of other Western countries, including the US, where shifting voter loyalties since the financial crash of 2008 have changed the political landscape.

The main opposition Labour Party looked on track for its worst election performance since 1935. The outcome appeared to sink the leadership of Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn, who campaigned on the party’s most left-wing manifesto in decades with large increases in government spending and large-scale nationalisation of key industries. Early on Friday he said he wouldn’t run in the next election but would remain at the helm of his party during a period of “reflection and discussion” as it transitions to a new leader.

British voters rejected Labour because they wanted a “costed and realistic proposal” for their government, Robert Buckland, a Conservative lawmaker and justice secretary, told the British Broadcasting Corp.

Mr. Johnson also promised extra government spending to reverse some of the effects of a decade of public belt-tightening since the financial crash. But his apparent triumph came largely on the back of a simple message that a vote for the Conservatives would “Get Brexit Done.”

That Brexit appeal flipped districts long considered Labour bastions. In an apparent confirmation of the shift projected by the exit poll, the first districts to declare showed big drops in the Labour Party’s share. For its first gain of the evening, Mr. Johnson’s party took the Blyth Valley, a former coal-mining district in England’s northeast, from the opposition.

“Brexit has dominated, we thought other issues could cut through,” said John McDonnell, a leading Labour lawmaker. “But they haven’t.” He said the results, if correct, were “extremely disappointing.”

The picture was different in Scotland, where the pro-independence Scottish National Party looked set to win all but four of the country’s 59 seats, a gain of 20 districts. That outcome likely puts Scottish independence back on the political agenda.

The leader of the pro-EU Liberal Democratic Party, Jo Swinson, lost her seat in Scotland to the Scottish Nationalists.

The British pound rose sharply late Thursday as the first exit poll was released, surging 2.5% against the dollar and reaching its highest level since May 2018.

The vote marks a remarkable turnaround for Mr. Johnson, who in the space of five months renegotiated a Brexit divorce deal with the EU and rallied his divided party and Britain’s exasperated voters behind it.

A majority of the projected size would allow him to quickly push the withdrawal deal he negotiated with the EU through Parliament, allowing Britain to formally leave the bloc on Jan. 31. It would also give him greater leeway in Parliament to steer future trade talks with the EU in any direction he chooses.


Johnson wins decisive majority in election that upends Britain

By Tim Ross, Alex Morales and Greg Ritchie

(Bloomberg) – Boris Johnson won a decisive victory in the UK election, putting the country on course to leave the European Union next month after the biggest shift in British political allegiances for decades.

The result vindicated Johnson’s gamble on an early vote to break the deadlock in Parliament over Brexit that’s paralysed the country. The leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said he would stand down while Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson lost her seat.

With counting complete in most districts, Johnson’s Conservatives passed the threshold of 326 seats to give them a majority. A revised forecast predicted the Tories would win 362 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons – 74 more than other parties combined. The pound rose by the most in more than 2 1/2 years.

First results showed the Conservatives taking some districts from Labour for the first time ever as Johnson’s “Get Brexit Done” mantra resonated with voters. Labour was predicted to secure 199 seats, a loss of 63 and its fourth successive general election defeat.

Johnson’s projected majority – the biggest for his party since Margaret Thatcher’s in 1987 – would give him more power to get his own way on Brexit, especially if he needs extra time to negotiate with the EU.

The only trouble spot for the Conservatives was Scotland, where support for the pro-independence Scottish National Party surged and set up a renewed constitutional standoff over the UK’s future. Arguably its biggest scalp was Swinson, who lost in her district near Glasgow.

The plan now is to hurry legislation through Parliament to meet the current departure date of Jan. 31.

After holding his seat west of London, Johnson said the result was “historic.” “It does look as though this one nation Conservative government has been given a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done,“ he said. “And not just to get Brexit done, but to unite this country and to take it forward and to focus on the priorities of the British people.”

For Corbyn, the heavy losses are a catastrophe. He staked everything on a radical plan to hike taxes for the rich and nationalise swathes of industry, but candidates said he was toxic for voters on the doorstep.

Labour figures called for Corbyn to step down. He duly did so in his acceptance speech after holding his seat in London, though will remain in place until a successor is chosen. Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, had said there was no way he could carry on.

“Tonight is an absolute disaster for the Labour Party,” Ian Murray, Labour lawmaker for Edinburgh South, told the BBC. “There has got to be a change of direction. That work either has to start tomorrow or the Labour Party has to reassess what it stands for.”

Brexit has redrawn the political map of the country, but few people predicted just by how much in this election.

Former industrial areas of northern England and Wales abandoned Labour for the first time in generations, mining and steel towns that suffered from mass unemployment under the Conservatives in the 1980s now embracing the party.

Scotland, which opposed Brexit, staged a rebellion as the SNP retook seats it lost two years ago. Officials played down the revised exit polls showing it had won 52 of 59 districts, but as results came in the swing in support backed up the prediction. Leader Nicola Sturgeon reiterated her demand for another Scottish independence referendum, something Johnson has so far ruled out.

“Boris Johnson has a mandate now to take England out of the EU,” Sturgeon said. “He must accept that I have a mandate to offer Scotland the choice of an alternative future.”

In England and Wales, voters moved to the Conservatives almost everywhere, but particularly strongly in places that voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.

For Johnson, a big majority would mark the culmination of an extraordinary rise to power. After he led the pro-Brexit campaign three years ago, Johnson watched as Theresa May tried and repeatedly failed to negotiate an EU divorce agreement the House of Commons would accept.

When she called a snap election in 2017 expecting a landslide, she lost the majority she started with, plunging the UK into two years of chaos as a deadlocked parliament failed to agree on the way forward. May was finally forced to resign, allowing Johnson to take over as prime minister in July with a promise to deliver Brexit “do or die” by the end of October.

Despite months of threats and bellicose rhetoric, he eventually secured a new Brexit deal with the EU, but couldn’t persuade parliament to rush it into law in time for him to meet his deadline.

That was enough to prompt the premier to trigger an early election – the next one wasn’t due until 2022 – in the hope voters would give him the majority he needed. Johnson’s bet has paid off.