Exit poll predicts biggest majority for a Tory government since 1987
Labour’s projected performance set to be worst since 1924
Result would give Conservatives a majority of 86
Lib Dems on course for just 13 seats, Brexit Party no seats
Boris Johnson could be on his way to forming a majority Conservative government after the general election exit poll predicted a huge Conservative win.
The forecast is beyond the 326 seats needed for a majority, and would mean the prime minister almost certainly passing his Brexit deal through Parliament.
The 10pm poll suggests a looming disaster for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, with the party forecast to win just 191 seats.
Labour, who had 243 MPs when Parliament was dissolved last month, is forecast to have lost 52 seats.
The joint Sky/BBC/ITV poll gives the Tories 368 seats with Labour on 191, the SNP on 55 and LibDems 13.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats - whose leader Jo Swinson claimed in July that the party was ready to win a general election - are predicted to win just 13 seats.
This projection would wipe out the seats the Lib Dems won in the last parliament.
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party were not projected to win a single seat.
Polling experts said the predicted result would be Labour’s worst general election performance since 1924.
If the exit poll turns out to be accurate, questions would undoubtedly be asked of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership, having lost two general elections in a row.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the election was “dominated by the Brexit issue”.
When the BBC’s Andrew Neil put it to the shadow chancellor that the result was a judgement on him, Jeremy Corbyn, and their “brand of socialism”, he replied: “I disagree. I actually think Brexit did dominate this election and that’s exactly what people have made their minds up.
“They wanted… it is… well, I hate to use the expression, I think they probably did want to get it done, and that’ll be it.”
Mr McDonnell added: “I’m not sure Brexit will be done as a result of this. I think what will happen… people, I think, almost in despair, wanted to get Brexit over and done with because they’ve had enough of what’s been going on.”
He said people will be met with “disappointment” because “Brexit isn’t going away”, adding: “What will happen is there’ll be negotiations for a long period of time with our European partners and anybody else.”
The result – the largest majority for a Conservative leader since Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s – would be seen as a triumph for his tightly-controlled campaign, which was largely gaffe-free until the final week.
Mr Johnson entered the election without a majority – having just 298 Tory MPs – after some quit the party and he withdrew the whip from others when they rebelled over Brexit.
The Tories appeared cautious after the exit poll but said a functioning majority “would mean we can now finally end the uncertainty and get Brexit done”.
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A Conservative spokesman said: “This is a projection, not a result, it’s important we wait to see the actual results when they come in. What we do know is that voters have rejected Labour’s fudge on Brexit.
“We needed this election because parliament was doing all it could to frustrate the will of the people.
“A functioning majority would mean we can now finally end the uncertainty and get Brexit done. It would allow the country to come together and move forward by delivering the change people voted for in 2016.”
What is an exit poll?
Exit polls are drawn from thousands of interviews with people outside polling stations after they cast their vote.
Voters are asked, anonymously, which party they voted for, alongside their age, race and gender. The form is then placed in a ballot box.
An exit poll is mainly used to estimate the turnout and electoral swing, which is the extent of change in voter support compared to the previous election. Data can’t be released before the polls close.
The polling focuses on marginal and swing seats, as these are the most important seats in determining the election result.
How accurate are they?
Exit polls have been used to predict general election results in the UK for decades. However, they’re not always foolproof.
In 2015, the exit poll incorrectly forecast a hung parliament when the Tories in fact won a majority. Pollsters were criticised to such an extent that the British Polling Council launched an inquiry into the discrepancies.
It later showed the likely cause of the discrepancy was poor survey techniques and problems with the manner in which sampling and weighting took place.
However, the 2017 poll, also predicting a hung parliament, was correct.
Additional reporting by Charlie Duffield