Sun | Jan 19, 2020

Johnson’s Conservatives whup Labour

Published:Friday | December 13, 2019 | 12:37 AM
Britain’s Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson holds his dog, Dilyn, as he leaves after voting in the general election at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, London, yesterday.
Britain’s Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson holds his dog, Dilyn, as he leaves after voting in the general election at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, London, yesterday.

LONDON (AP):

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was on track to win a solid majority of seats in Parliament, an exit poll suggested late Thursday – a decisive outcome to a Brexit-dominated election that should allow Johnson to fulfil his plan to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union (EU) next month.

It would also make Johnson the most electorally successful Conservative leader since Margaret Thatcher, another politician who was loved and loathed in almost equal measure.

The survey, released just after polls closed, predicted that the Conservatives would get 368 of the 650 House of Commons seats and the Labour Party 191. In the last election in 2017, the Conservatives won 318 seats and Labour 262.

It would be the biggest Tory majority since Thatcher’s 1980s’ heyday and Labour’s lowest number of seats since 1935.

That result would be a triumph for Johnson and a disaster for left-wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who faced immediate calls for his resignation.

Based on interviews with voters leaving 144 polling stations across the country, the poll is conducted for a consortium of UK broadcasters and is regarded as a reliable, though not exact, indicator of the likely result. The poll also projected 55 seats for the Scottish National Party and 13 for the Liberal Democrats.

Ballots were being counted, with official results expected early Friday.

A decisive Conservative win would vindicate Johnson’s decision to press for Thursday’s early election, which was held nearly two years ahead of schedule. He said that if the Conservatives won a majority, he would get Parliament to ratify his Brexit divorce deal and take the UK out of the EU by the January 31, 2020, deadline.

The poll suggests that message had strong appeal for Brexit-supporting voters, who turned away from Labour in the party’s traditional heartlands and embraced Johnson’s promise that the Conservatives would “get Brexit done”.