News Editor | James Neal
Last night, Boris Johnson’s conservative party was swept to power with a 47 seat increase since the 2017 general election. The Prime minister now has a majority of 365 seats, the largest Conservative majority since the 1987 general election. In his victory speech, Johnson told activists that this signalled a “new dawn” for the nation, with the legislation paving the way for Brexit on 31 January. Johnson has promised that he would lead a “people’s government” and would work to repay the trust of his backers. The Tories also saw large increases to their vote share (44%) making it the largest since 1979, when Thatcher became Prime Minister. A large part of this surge seemed to come from working-class leave voting areas – a significant change to the geographical makeup of British politics.
Across the aisle, the night was abysmal for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party who lost 59 seats, reducing their seat share to 203, the worst result the Labour party has seen since 1935. Vote share also plummeted 8 points from the 2017 result, lower than that achieved by Kinnock in 1992. Perhaps most stinging of all however is the loss of long-term Labour strongholds, such as Wrexham, Darlington, Sedgefield and Workington, seats that have been Labour for decades. Several big names amongst the Parliamentary Labour Party, such as Laura Pidcock, Caroline Flint and Dennis Skinner also lost their seats. Corbyn has since announced that he will step down before the next general election as Labour leader, however, he has suggested that he will stay on as leader for a “time of reflection”.
In other news, it was a good night for the SNP who gained 13 seats and increased their share to 48, with Nicola Sturgeon stating that the result “renews, reinforces and strengthens” the mandate for Indyref2. Inversely, it was a torrid night for the Liberal Democrats whose leader Jo Swinson – having begun the campaign stating that she could be Prime Minister – lost her seat to a slim SNP majority.
The Prime Minister has since gone to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen and ask to form a new government. While both the Liberal Democrats and Labour begin the long process of rebuilding and looking to choose new leaders.