Conservatives celebrate their biggest win since Margaret Thatcher.
With all but handful of districts declared on Friday morning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives had won 359 seats and the BBC projected they would end up with 363 — 46 more than they won in the last election, in 2017.
The victory is the party’s biggest since Margaret Thatcher captured a third term in 1987 — “literally before many of you were born,” Mr. Johnson told supporters Friday morning. It gives him a comfortable majority in the 650-seat House of Commons.
“We did it,” he said. “We smashed it, didn’t we?”
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party had to reach even farther back to find a more extreme result. It won 203 seats, down 59 from the previous vote, in its worst showing since 1935. It had not suffered a similar drubbing since 1983, when it took 209 seats.
The Scottish National Party captured 48 of Scotland’s 59 seats, a gain of 13. The Liberal Democrats, who were hoping to ride an anti-Brexit stance back to prominence, won just 11 seats, one less than in 2017.
The Conservatives collected 43.6 percent of the popular vote, to 32.3 percent for Labour. That 11.3 percentage point margin was also the largest for the Tories since 1987 — a dramatic shift from 2017, when Labour lost the popular vote by just 2.4 percent.
Boris Johnson promises Brexit, and a life after it.
Speaking to his constituents in Uxbridge early Friday morning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the election results appeared to have given his government “a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done.”
Later in the morning, he told supporters, “we put an end to all those miserable threats of a second referendum” that might have reversed the results of the 2016 vote on Brexit.
“We will get Brexit done on time on the 31st of January — no ifs, no buts, no maybes,” he added.
He also promised that his government would spend more at home after a decade of austerity under Conservative governments — in particular on Britain’s National Health Service, known commonly as the N.H.S., a cherished program whose conditions have deteriorated.
Mr. Johnson said that he would seek “to unite this country and to take it forward and to focus on the priorities of the British people, and above all on the N.H.S.”
As hospital beds have overflowed, waiting times have gone up and vacancies have gone unfilled, many Britons have grown fearful that the health service could be privatized or otherwise overhauled — for instance by a trade deal with the United States that could drive up drug prices. (President Trump, tweeting congratulations on Friday morning, said Britain could “strike a massive new Trade Deal” after Brexit.)
Mr. Johnson insisted he would protect the health service, echoing his campaign promises to hire 50,000 more nurses and 6,000 doctors.
He promised again to hire more police officers, whose ranks have also thinned, and vowed “colossal new investments in infrastructure and science.”
“Let’s spread opportunity to every corner of the U.K.”
Jeremy Corbyn says he will step aside — but not yet.
Speaking in his constituency of Islington in London, the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said that he would step down before the next general election, but would stay at the party’s helm for now, as it reflects on how to move forward from its dismal showing.
Mr. Corbyn is already under intense pressure to resign. His has been accused of poor leadership and of failing to handle accusations of anti-Semitism in the party ranks.
“I will not lead the party in any future general election campaign,” he said. “I will discuss with our party to ensure there is a process now of reflection on this result and on the policies that the party will take going forward and I will lead the party during that period to ensure that discussion takes place and we move on into the future.”
It was not clear how long Mr. Corbyn meant to stay on as party leader. The next election could be as long as five years away.
Some members of the Labour Party were quick to criticize him on Thursday night.
“The Labour Party has huge, huge questions to answer,” Ruth Smeeth, a former lawmaker, told Sky News. She immediately laid blame on Mr. Corbyn.
“Jeremy Corbyn should announce that he’s resigning as the leader of the Labour Party from his count today,” she said. “He should have gone many, many, many months ago.”
Big gains for the Scottish National Party raise big questions.
The Scottish National Party’s success — it won 48 of the 59 seats that it contested — will intensify the debate over independence for Scotland, which voted against Brexit and has largely rejected Britain’s major parties.
In a 2014 referendum, 45 percent of the voters in Scotland backed independence, and as Brexit approaches, the Scottish National Party, which backs independence, has insisted on a second referendum.
Mr. Johnson has said a national government under him would not hold a Scottish independence vote, but the Scottish government has suggested that it might go ahead with one.
That raises the prospect the kind of disarray and animosity plaguing Spain, where the government of Catalonia held an independence referendum two years ago that the central government said was illegal.
“The people of Scotland will have made very clear that they didn’t want Boris Johnson as P.M., that they don’t want Brexit, and they want Scotland’s future to be in Scotland’s hands,” Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, told Sky News late Thursday night. “There is a mandate now to offer the people of Scotland a choice over their own future.”
Before 2015, the Scottish National Party had never won more than seven seats in Parliament. But under Ms. Sturgeon, it has now dominated the Scottish vote in three successive elections.
An anti-Brexit party fades almost entirely from sight.
The Liberal Democrats, a centrist party that had campaigned to stop Brexit, lost ground and its leader, Jo Swinson, lost her seat in Dunbartonshire East, Scotland, to the Scottish National Party.
“Some will be celebrating the wave of nationalism that is sweeping on both sides of the border,” Ms. Swinson said. “These are very significant results for the future of our country.”
She did not immediately say whether she would resign as the party leader, but declared that the Liberal Democrats would still support “values that guide our liberal movement: openness, fairness, inclusivity.”
With the Conservatives becoming almost uniformly pro-Brexit, and Labour failing to take a clear position, the Liberal Democrats, unequivocally anti-Brexit, hoped to become the refuge for voters who wanted to remain in the European Union.
They won 11.5 percent of the popular vote, a sharp improvement on the 7.9 percent they collected in each of the last two elections. But it did not translate into victories; they won just 11 seats on Thursday, one less than in 2017.
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