General election 2019: latest results, headline news - and what it all means

Chris Graham
GE

Boris Johnson hailed his "powerful new mandate to get Brexit done" as his party romped to victory in the 2019 General Election.

The Tory landslide prompted Jeremy Corbyn to announce he will not lead Labour into another election after his party suffered humiliation.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson also lost her seat to the SNP, who were set for a good night in Scotland.

But the big winner was Mr Johnson as the Tories won seat after seat in Labour's heartlands.

Mr Corbyn admitted it had been a "very disappointing" night. Facing his second General Election defeat, Mr Corbyn said that he would call it a day as leader as he was re-elected in his London seat.

He said he would discuss with the party how to ensure there was a "process of reflection ".

"I will lead the party during this period to ensure this discussion takes place."

The mood at Mr Johnson's count was much more upbeat as he declared: "It does look as though this One Nation Conservative government has been given a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done."

He added: "Above all I want to thank the people of this country for turning out to vote in a December election that we didn't want to call but which I think has turned out to be a historic election that 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.

"And that is what we will now do, and if we are lucky enough to be returned, as the exit polls seem to suggest, then that work will begin tomorrow... or as I should say, not tomorrow, today!"

Mr Corbyn's party, which had 243 MPs when Parliament was dissolved last month, is forecast to lose 52 seats, according to a BBC/Sky/ITV exit poll, which put the Tories on 368 seats.

The poll predicted Labour would win just 191 seats, the Scottish National Party 55, Liberal Democrats 13, the Brexit Party none, Plaid Cymru three and Greens one - giving Mr Johnson a majority of 86.

Such a poor result would be the worst for Labour in terms of seats since 1935.

Headline news

Corbyn says he will stand aside

Mr Corbyn defended his "extremely popular" policies and blamed Brexit for Labour's devastating defeat as he announced he would stand down as leader after overseeing a "period of reflection".

With the Tories expected to cruise to a comfortable majority, a deflated Mr Corbyn said it had been a "very disappointing night", with support crumbling in former Labour heartlands.

Mr Corbyn acknowledged that he had to leave Labour's helm after suffering a second General Election defeat as he criticised media "attacks" towards himself, his family and the party.

"I want to also make it clear that I will not lead the party in any future general election campaign," he said as he accepted victory in his Islington North constituency.

"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."

Mr Corbyn defended putting forward a "manifesto of hope" that would help wrong the injustices and inequalities gripping the nation and tackle the climate crisis.

"All of those policies were extremely popular during the election campaign and remain policies that have huge popular support all across this country," he said in the Sobell Leisure Centre in Holloway, north London.

"However Brexit has so polarised and divided debate in this country it has overridden so much of a normal political debate and I recognise that has contributed to the results that the Labour party has received this evening all across this country."

Sturgeon plots second referendum

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland and the rest of the UK are now on "divergent paths" as the SNP leader celebrated an "exceptionally good night" for her party, while Boris Johnson headed back to Downing Street.

Ms Sturgeon had attacked the Conservative leader throughout the election campaign, branding him unfit to be prime minister.

With the Conservatives seemingly on track for a majority at Westminster, allowing Mr Johnson to push ahead with his Brexit plans, Ms Sturgeon said the UK-wide picture is "pretty grim".

But in Scotland, the SNP has gained seats from both Labour and the Conservatives - including in East Lothian, where the former Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill defeated Labour to be returned as the new MP for the area.

The SNP also ousted Tories Kirstene Hair in Angus and Paul Masterton in East Renfrewshire, as well as defeating Labour's Danielle Rowley in Midlothian and Ged Killen in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Meanwhile Pete Wishart became the SNP's longest serving MP after retaining his Perth and North Perthshire seat with a significantly increased majority.

Speaking as she arrived at the Glasgow count, Ms Sturgeon said: "This is an exceptionally good night for the SNP.

"UK-wide it's a pretty grim result, but it shows the divergent paths Scotland and the rest of the UK is on."

The SNP campaign had focused on the themes of stopping Brexit and preventing Mr Johnson from winning a majority - as well as making the case for a second Scottish independence referendum.

Prior to polling day Ms Sturgeon had been clear that she will write to the prime minister before Christmas to request the formal powers for the Scottish Parliament to hold such a ballot.

"My plan in that regard hasn't changed," she said in the early hours of Friday.

Jo Swinson loses her seat on bad night for LibDems

Ms Swinson said she lost her seat to the SNP after a "wave of nationalism" swept politics on both sides of the border.

The LibDem leader was ousted in East Dunbartonshire by the SNP's Amy Callaghan, who took just 149 votes more.

With her leadership of the Liberal Democrats now in question, Ms Swinson said she would make a further statement later on Friday.

Speaking at the count in Bishopbriggs, outside Glasgow, she said: "These are very significant results for the future of our country and I will be making further remarks later today.

"But let me say now, for millions of people in our country these results will bring dread and dismay and people are looking for hope.

"I still believe we as a country can be warm and generous, inclusive and open and that by working together with our nearest neighbours we can achieve so much more.

"Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for these values that guide our Liberal movement - openness, fairness, inclusivity. We will stand up for hope."

Latest results

637 out of 650 seats declared

Latest results

Election map

Election map

What it all means

The London bubble didn't see this historic political earthquake coming 

Sherelle Jacobs writes:

The London bubble is in a state of shock. The pollsters, the pundits - and even many tetchy Tory politicians - failed to see one of the most dramatic realignments in British history was about to unfold. And make no mistake, what we are witnessing is history in the making. Many believed we would never see the Red Wall fall in our lifetime. But it is crumbling before our eyes to dust.

The verdict is out on whether the psephologists overcompensated for Labour's surprisingly robust election results in the 2017 when making in its polling adjustments for this election. And it is not yet clear why exactly, as the final days of canvassing drew to an end just hours ago, Tory MPs were going into meltdown behind the scenes, predicting a hung Parliament.

But it is stark that Labour-voting dynasties - from the Black Country to Blyth Valley - have decisively turned their backs on the party that has utterly betrayed them. 

Read the full article.

There is only one message to the British people: you are wise, undaunted and quite magnificent

Janet Daley writes:

Well I have to admit it. I burst into tears. The people of Britain have spoken - the real people. Not the social media trolls or the Twitter addicts or that whole parallel universe of ghosts who seemed - to the credulous - to be what politics was about now, but the grown-up, decent, rational people of this country who have once again asserted their right to be heard.

And because Boris Johnson insisted that this was a Brexit election - with that endlessly repeated mantra about “getting Brexit done”  - this was more than an election: it was a second referendum too.

So that’s the end of that.

What this must mean is that the Red Wall has well and truly collapsed. Labour has lost its birthright to the working class vote.

Read the full article.

A majority would be a victory for everyone slandered by the far-Left

Tim Stanley writes:

"This is a vindication for Boris Johnson. Again, he is not the man the Left says he is. He is perfectly moderate and really quite popular - as footage from the campaign trail almost consistently showed. He had a great campaign, displaying the discipline he allegedly lacked, and even when it wrong it was oddly wonderful (hiding in a fridge: love it). 

"Never has the gulf between London opinion and the rest of the country been so stark. I'm not claiming BoJo is our Churchill or is universally loved. But what he's not is universally hated just because Channel 4 doesn't care for him. He has rescued his party from Theresa May and - this is the big thing - maybe saved Brexit."

Read the full article here. 

Boris Johnson has crushed the Remainers. If only they would lose with grace

Asa Bennett writes:

As the results poured in, showing that Boris Johnson had won what he rightly termed at his re-election a "powerful new mandate" to drive through his Brexit deal, his critics tried desperately to ignore the scale of their rout.

Ardent Brexit critics like John Bercow carped away on TV about how the Prime Minister would not be able to "get Brexit done" just by passing his deal, even though that would by itself see the United Kingdom out of the European Union, literally the minimum that needs to happen for Brexit to be delivered. Everything else that follows, namely the future relationship talks with Brussels and free trade negotiations with partners around the world, will just be part of the wider foreign policy a newly independent Britain can navigate as it wishes.

Read the full article. 

What happens next?

If Mr Johnson does indeed get his big majority, the Government will move quickly to "get Brexit done", Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Thursday night.

She said: "Importantly, as we have outlined throughout this entire campaign, the focus has been on Brexit.

"You know, we've had gridlock in Parliament, we want to get Brexit done, we have heard the prime minister say this. Get it done before Christmas, introduce the legislation and get that moving in parliament."

On Friday, Mr Johnson will likely visit Buckingham Palace where the Queen will invite him to form a new government.

The PM would then make a speech outside Number 10, and could begin a cabinet reshuffle - which may last over the weekend, or be done in a day as it was when he took over from Theresa May.

On Tuesday, MPs will return to Westminster and begin the process of swearing in, where they take an oath of allegiance.

The Conservatives have pledged to re-introduce Mr Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement Bill (Wab), in December as an "early Christmas present" for voters. This could mean MPs sitting next Friday in order for the Bill to be introduced at first reading.