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UK's Johnson gets 'huge' Brexit mandate in seismic election win

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on December 13, 2019 - Duration: 02:57s

UK's Johnson gets 'huge' Brexit mandate in seismic election win

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's ruling Conservatives have won a significant majority in an election that reshapes the British political landscape and breaks the Brexit gridlock.

David Doyle reports.

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UK's Johnson gets 'huge' Brexit mandate in seismic election win

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won a resounding victory in the UK's Brexit-fueled election.

His ruling Conservative Party securing a thumping majority in a vote that's seismically altered the British political landscape, and seen Johnson's opposition counterpart announce that he'll be stepping down Unsurprisingly, the PM was pretty happy.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "We pulled it off didn't we, we pulled it off.

We broke the deadlock, we ended the gridlock, we smashed the road block." With a majority of around 50 seats, Johnson can now deliver the 2016 EU referendum result by January 31 - though Britain's prolonged Brexit odyssey doesn't end there: next is the daunting task of negotiating a free trade agreement with the 27-member bloc.

But Johnson's message that he would (JOHNSON: "Do what?

CROWD: "Get Brexit Done") has clearly chimed with the electorate more than three years after they voted, by a narrow margin, to leave the EU.

That was particularly noticeable in the opposition Labour Party's so called "red wall" - once the UK's industrial heartlands in central and northern England.

One of the first of these traditionally working class Labour seats to announce its results was Blyth Valley.

It had never been won by the Conservatives - but in the early hours of Friday (December 13) morning, they took it.

After Blyth Valley, the red wall continued to crumble.

In all, the Conservatives took 47 seats from Labour, with most of them in central and northern England, often in areas that voted to leave the EU.

That's seen the opposition Labour Party lose scores of seats in its worst result since 1935 - setting the stage for a civil war between the socialists who control the party and more centrist factions who will demand power.

Passions are already running high.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would, at a later date, be stepping down.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) OPPOSITION LEADER JEREMY CORBYN, SAYING: "I will not lead the party in any future general election campaign." He said he will continue to lead the party during a period of reflection.

But someone more immediately out of a job is the leader of another opposition party, the Liberal Democrats.

Jo Swinson lost her seat in Scotland as the Scottish National Party surged - winning 48 out of a possible 59 Scottish seats, an increase of 13.

That result adds weight to their calls for a new referendum on Scottish independence.

And there was another big winner on the night - the British pound.

It surged 2% against the dollar and the euro as indications came in on Thursday (December 12) - and the uncertain gridlock around Brexit was, for now at least, ended.

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