• Monday, Jan 20, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:47 am

UK election 2019: As it happened

  • Published at 07:59 am December 13th, 2019
Britain-Election-UK
Staff members count votes at a counting centre during Britain's general election, Bath, Britain December 13, 2019 Reuters

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wins substantial majority as Labour and the Liberal Democrats suffer major defeats - as it happened

The United Kingdom has voted in a general election seen as a critical juncture in the Brexit crisis engulfing British politics.

Thursday's high-stakes ballot came after months of political deadlock over the UK's drama-filled bid to quit the European Union, with MPs split over how to execute the result of the 2016 referendum on membership of the bloc.

Here are the updates:

05:00 - Johnson arrives at the Palace to meet Queen

Johnson steps out of the car and enters the King's entrance to ask the Queen to form a new government.

02:30pm - World leaders congratulate Johnson's win

World leaders have been sending their well wishes to Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Here's what they had to say:

02:00pm - Boris Johnson's victory speech

Watch a clip from Boris Johnson's victory speech.

11:10amConservatives win a majority

The Conservative party has won the 2019 election after formally ensuring an overall Commons majority by winning its 368th seat.

10:10am US President Donald Trump congratulates Boris Johnson

09:50am - Boris Johnson touts ‘historic’ election

Boris Johnson has hailed a "historic" election result after holding his seat.

"I don't want to tempt fate ... but at this stage it does look as though this one nation Conservative government has been given a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done," he said.

Johnson added he will then focus on the NHS, repeating a number of disputed pledges about the numbers of new nurses and hospitals he will create.

He thanked "Lord Buckethead, Elmo and others," in a seat where plenty of joke candidates ran.

"But above all I want to thank the people of this country for turning out to vote in a December election," he said. He called it a "historic election" which gave him "the chance to respect the democratic will of the British people."

09:30am - Corbyn says he will not lead Labour into another election

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says the pressure on people in the public life is high. And the attacks on people in public life are disgusting.

He says it has been a “very disappointing night” for Labour.

But the party put forward a manifesto of hope, he says. Brexit has polarized debate, he says.

He says the issues of social justice will not go away. They will come back. And the fundamental Labour message is one that will be there for all time.

09:20amTories down slightly in revised projections

British broadcasters have updated their predictions based on partial results, showing a slightly smaller majority for the Conservatives than earlier predicted. 

They've slid the Conservatives down to 257 (from 268). This is still a very comfortable majority for the Tories - but Labour are up to 201.

09:08amBoris Johnson's father accused of making Islamophobic remark during election show

Stanley Johnson, father of Boris Johnson, has come under criticism for making allegedly Islamophobic comments during a live election night show on Channel 4.

He said: "If I was a female fighter jet pilot, I would expect someone to say 'don't wear a burqa.'"

A fellow panelist on the show labelled the comment as "disgraceful."

Boris Johnson has been accused of Islamophobia in the past, having previously said in a newspaper column that women in burqas "look like letter boxes."

09:05am - EU ready to take ‘next steps’ in Brexit negotiations

The European Union stands ready to take the “next steps” in reaching a deal on the final Withdrawal Agreement with the United Kingdom, whatever the result of Thursday’s election, European Council President Charles Michel said Friday morning in Brussels. 

“About the outcome of the elections in the UK, we will wait to see what will be the official results. But there is a strong message … tomorrow we’ll have a discussion in the European Council on Article 50 and you know that we are ready for the next steps,” the European Council President said during a press conference in the early hours of Friday.

“We will see if it is possible for the British parliament to accept the Withdrawal Agreement, to take a decision. And, if it is the case, we are ready for the next steps,” Michel added, asserting that the EU remains committed to maintaining “close cooperation” with the UK.

Speaking to members of the press alongside the European Council President, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said the EU is “ready to negotiate” whatever the result.

The view from Europe

CNN's Luke McGee analyzes the views of EU officials on UK election.

Meanwhile in Brussels, diplomats and officials are breathing a sigh of relief. 

Contrary to the view of many remain voters in the UK, this is not going down badly with the people on the other side of Brexit. 

While at a push, most EU leaders would prefer that the Brexit vote hadn't happened, further uncertainty was by far the worst outcome as far as they were concerned. They wanted clarity, and now they might have it. 

Officials are already talking about a big majority meaning that Johnson can push for a closer relationship between Europe and the UK, even if his Euroskeptic backbenchers hate the idea.

France's European affairs minister, Amelie de Montchalin, said that "what France has asked for for a long time is clarity. This result brings that," and that the most important thing with Brexit is "not the way we divorce, it's what we build afterwards."

09:00am – DUP deputy leader loses seat

Northern Island’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader, Nigel Dodds, has lost his Belfast North seat to Sinn Fein’s John Finucane, the son of Pat Finucane.

‘Offering second referendum main reason for Labour doing so badly’

Ian Lavery, the Labour party chair, told the BBC that Brexit was to blame for the party doing so badly.

“I think what we’re seeing in the Labour heartlands is that people are very aggrieved at the fact that the party has taken a stance on Brexit in the way they have; 17.4 million people voted for Brexit, and basically being ignored is not a good recipe. I think democracy prevails. Ignore democracy, and to be quite honest the consequences will come back and bite you.”

Labour Party blame game begins 

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn faced calls to quit, after equivocation over Brexit and his limited personal appeal contributed to a collapse in traditional strongholds and what looks like his party's worst election defeat in 84 years.

An exit poll and early results showed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party were set for a resounding victory in Britain's election, allowing him to deliver Brexit on January 31.

That leaves Labour, a 100-year-old party born out of the trade union movement, wrestling with what went wrong and what to do about it.

The exit poll showed voters had gone with Johnson's "Get Brexit Done" promise and pro-market philosophy and rejected left-wing veteran Corbyn, who had promised a second Brexit referendum and a radical expansion of the state.

Labour candidate Gareth Snell said he expected to lose his parliamentary seat in Stoke-on-Trent, a city once regarded as a Labour stronghold, and made clear that he wanted Corbyn to take responsibility for the party's poor performance.

08:25am – Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has arrived at the count for Islington North, his constituency. He did not respond to questions posed by reporters as he was going in.

How accurate are exit polls?

Broadcasters have been commissioning exit polls at least since 1974 and in recent years they have been reliable, and sometimes extraordinarily accurate. Here are figures showing how they have performed in the past. 

2017: Wrong by 4. The combined BBC/ITV/Sky exit poll said the Conservatives would be 12 seats short of a majority, and they ended up eight seats short of a majority.

2015: Wrong by 22. It said the Conservatives would be 10 seats short of a majority, but they got a majority of 12.

2010: It said the Conservatives would be 19 short of a majority, and they were.

2005: It predicted a Labour majority of 66, which Labour got. Before 2005 the BBC and ITV commissioned separate exit polls. Their record was not as good as the record of the more recent combined one.

2001: Both exit polls correctly predicted a landslide Labour majority, but the BBC got the size of the majority wrong by 10 seats (too low), and ITV wrong by eight seats (too high).

08:02am - Exit poll results in full

Conservatives: 368

Labour: 191

SNP: 55

Liberal Democrats: 13

Plaid Cymru: 3

Greens: 1

Brexit party: 0

Others: 19

08:00am - Prime Minister Boris Johnson's ruling party appeared on course for a sweeping victory in Thursday's snap election, an exit poll showed, paving the way for Britain to leave the EU next month after years of political deadlock.

The Conservatives were forecast to win a thumping 368 out of 650 seats in parliament - which if confirmed would be the party's biggest majority in three decades - according to the survey published as polls closed.