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As it happened: UK’s Johnson vows to ‘get Brexit done’ after crushing election victory

Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses supporters in London after his resounding victory.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses supporters in London after his resounding victory. Dylan Martinez, REUTERS

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that voters had given his government a "powerful new mandate" to take Britain out of the EU next month as he secured a crushing victory in a landmark election, before calling for "closure and healing" over Brexit.

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Johnson's promise to “get Brexit done'' and widespread unease with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn's leadership style and socialist policies combined to give the ruling Conservative Party 365 seats in the House of Commons, its best performance since the icon Margaret Thatcher's third and final landslide in 1987. Corbyn's Labour Party slumped to 203 seats, 59 fewer than it won two years ago, vote totals showed Friday.

"We will get Brexit done on time by the 31st of January, no ifs, no buts, no maybes," Johnson told cheering supporters. 

In a speech outside Downing Street, he described the UK's three year-long Brexit divisions as "an increasingly arid argument".

With a large majority of MPs, he will be able to get the divorce deal he struck with Brussels through parliament in time to meet the next Brexit deadline of January 31.

But the Conservative leader will face renewed calls for an independence referendum in Scotland, where the pro-independence Scottish National Party claimed 48 of the 59 seats contested.

It was a punishing election for the opposition Labour party, which was swept aside by the Conservatives in its traditional heartlands in the Midlands and north-eastern England in an extraordinary political realignment.

One sign of this remarkable shift is that the Tories won Bolsover -- a working-class former mining town held by veteran left-winger Dennis Skinner since 1970 -- for the first time since the seat was created in 1950.

Labour's Jeremy Corbyn said he would not be leading the party in the next election, while Jo Swinson quit as leader of the Liberal Democrats after losing her seat in a shock defeat as the pro-Remain party failed to make gains.

Follow how the events unfolded on our live blog below.

 

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