By Dave Stapleton
Boris Johnson looks set to remain as the UK’s Prime Minister and will be backed by a significant Conservative majority in parliament, according to the latest polling results.
Latest figures from the BBC show that the Tory party has won 365 seats, a major majority which will allow Johnson to assume control of the House of Commons and pass the Brexit deal agreed with the EU and Ireland.
Mr Johnson thanked his supporters last night through social media shortly after exit poll figures were released . “Thank you to everyone across our great country who voted, who volunteered, who stood as candidates. We live in the greatest democracy in the world,” he said on Twitter.
Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party look set to face disaster as they are predicted to win just 203 seats – one of the worst results for Labour in recent history.
Speaking at his election count in Islington North this morning, Mr Corbyn said he will remain as leader during a “period of reflection” for the party. He’s expected to step down in April when a leadership vote will take place.
“This election was taken over ultimately by Brexit”— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) December 13, 2019
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he is “obviously very sad” at the result of the UK general election, adding he tried to “reach out beyond the Brexit divide” because “the country has to come together”https://t.co/oNI9nxV4O1 pic.twitter.com/5dE65lWLtw
This election marks the best showing for the Conservatives in a General Election since Margaret Thatcher’s win in 1987.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have taken just 13 seats, and the party’s leader Jo Swinson has lost her own constituency seat to the Scottish National Party, who have taken 48 seats.
Ms Swinson said the result would bring “dismay” to many and under party rules has been forced to step down as leader.
The Green Party have won one seat, while the Brexit Party has been blown away and have no seats at all.
It suggests that the Tories’ campaign message of “Get Brexit Done” has completely whitewashed any platform for Nigel Farage’s pro-Brexit party.
Northern Ireland results
Unionists in Northern Ireland have lost the majority of the 18 seats in Westminister for the first time. There will be nine nationalist and republican MP’s from Northern Ireland, while unionists have won eight seats.
The DUP’s Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds has been ousted by Sinn Féin, though it hasn’t been a good result for SF either. Its seat in Foyle has been taken by the SDLP in a decisive 17,000 vote majority.
- Democratic Unionist Party: 8 seats
- Sinn Féin: 7 Seats
- Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
- Alliance Party: 1
- Others: 0
Where did it go wrong for Labour?
Speaking on TheJournal.ie’s The Explainer podcast this morning, TU Dublin lecturer and former Targeting Manager for the UK Labour Party, Dr Kevin Cunningham said the Labour Party’s decision to take a remain position was a contributing factor to its failure.
The Labour Party campaigned for a remain stance on Brexit during this election, compared to in 2017 when they took a largely neutral position.
“There’s a big debate immediately emerging between the Corbyn gang and the rest of party, as to whether Corbyn and his left-wing agenda was the issue, or whether it was the Brexit position,” Dr Cunningham said.
He also suggested that Corbyn’s policy messaging, such as talking about nationalizing broadband services, didn’t really succeed in connecting with voters.
“One of the unique things about Britain is where you get your news from, dictates who you vote for. In Ireland you’ll have lots of [TheJournal.ie] listeners who vote for very different parties but certainly in the UK its extremely polarised.
“If you read the Telegraph in the UK, you vote Tory – it means more so than class or anything you can possibly imagine. It makes it very hard for any messaging or policy to get any sort of cut through.
“The labour voters are all online. Its massively skewed in different ways and everyone is talking to each other. The proportion of people getting their news online through Twitter, is limited by the fact that Twitter is filtered and limited based on who you are following. People are only hearing their side of the debate.”