Boris Johnson returns to Downing Street with a landslide majority. With the final constituencies still to declare, projections suggest that he will have a majority of 78. The result is the Conservatives’ best electoral performance in over 30 years.
The Prime Minister succeeded in winning a swathe of leave-voting seats in what was Labour’s heartland. The Conservatives also did well in remain-voting areas, regaining Kensington – one of the symbols of Theresa May’s 2017 collapse – to offset losses in places such as Richmond. Overall, the Conservative share of the national vote was broadly similar to 2017 (up one percentage point), but the Party succeeded in winning votes where it needed to.
For Labour, the night was a disaster. The Party is headed for an even worst electoral performance than its nadir of 1983. The Party has limped over the 200 seat mark but big names on the left from Labour veteran Dennis Skinner to Corbynista rising star Laura Pidcock were swept away. Scores more ‘safe’ Labour seats are now ultra-marginals. The recriminations have already begun, with different factions battling to attribute blame for the defeat. Jeremy Corbyn’s position is now untenable. The battle to succeed him – and for the future direction of the Labour Party – will be brutal.
Jo Swinson’s gamble to press for an election backfired – both for her and for her party. She narrowly lost her seat and, although the Liberal Democrats did score some wins, these were offset by losses and the failure to make promised breakthroughs elsewhere. High profile defectors failed to win their seats, including leading health advocates Dr Sarah Wollaston and Luciana Berger.
In Scotland, the Scottish National Party scored a thumping victory, taking seats from Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Calls for a second referendum on independence will now surely grow.
Results in Wales saw the Conservatives make six gains at the expense of Labour. The Liberal Democrats were wiped out.
In Northern Ireland, the Conservatives’ erstwhile confidence and supply partners, the Democratic Unionist Party, were punished at the ballot box, with Westminster leader Nigel Dodds losing his seat. For the first time, nationalist parties have more seats than the unionists and the DUP’s influence in the new Parliament will be markedly different from the past couple of years.
If the 2017 Parliament saw the rise of the independents, then the 2019 Election saw their demise. The handful of former Conservatives who were standing as independents were all comfortably defeated.
Attention will now turn to the majority Conservative Government’s Queen’s Speech, expected next week.