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Johnson says he has an 'overwhelming mandate' to take Britain out of EU by end of January

Johnson lead the Tories to a massive victory in the general election.

Updated Dec 13th 2019, 10:13 PM

general-election-2019 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement outside Downing Street today Source: Victoria Jones via PA Images

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson has pledged to heal the divisions of Brexit, as he returned to Downing Street after securing a crushing general election victory over Labour.

Speaking on the steps of No 10 after a string of Labour strongholds fell to the Tories, the Prime Minister said he had an “overwhelming mandate” to take Britain out of the EU by the end of January.

But at the same time he sought to reach out to Remainers, insisting his “One Nation” government would never ignore their feelings of “warmth and sympathy” towards the other nations of Europe.

“Now is the moment, precisely as we leave the EU, to let those natural feelings find renewed expression in building a new partnership,” he said.

“I frankly urge everyone on either side of what are, after three and a half years, increasingly arid argument, I urge everyone to find closure and to let the healing begin.”

With all 650 seats declared, the Conservatives had a majority of 80 – the party’s strongest election performance since Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

The Prime Minister is now expected to reintroduce his Brexit deal in the Commons next week following the Queen’s Speech and State Opening of Parliament on Thursday.

The result plunged Labour into turmoil, with Jeremy Corbyn announcing he would not take the party into the next general election after seeing a string of former strongholds fall to the Tories.

But he faced furious demands to quit immediately after he said he intended to lead the party through a “process of reflection” as it considered the way forward.

Queen’s confirmation

Earlier today, Johnson completed the final formality of his general election victory – an audience with the Queen to be confirmed as Prime Minister.

Johnson was greeted by the Queen’s Equerry-in-Waiting Lieutenant Colonel Charles Richards and her private secretary Edward Young when his ministerial car arrived at Buckingham Palace just before 11am.

As the sitting Prime Minister, the meeting was just a formality but an important process – when the head of state would have followed convention and asked the politician whether he would form a government.

Following the Conservative Party’s election triumph, Johnson now has a large majority in the House of Commons and was the most likely person for the Queen to appoint as her PM.

The main requirement for the monarch is to find someone who can command the confidence of the Commons and with more than 360 MPs the Tories are now the party of government.

The Queen has seen 13 premiers come and go during her reign, with Johnson her 14th Prime Minister.

Johnson spent almost 40 minutes at the palace and would have met the Queen in the audience room, part of a small suite of rooms that form her private apartments.

After their meeting he was escorted by the Queen’s Equerry-in-Waiting to his car and left the London landmark for Downing Street.

- Additional reporting Michelle Hennessy

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