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As it happened: Boris Johnson and Tories romp to victory as Labour's vote crumbles

From the exit polls to Corbyn’s speech – here’s how things played out overnight.

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ALL THE TALK is over. And, in the Brexit election, the Tories are the clear winners. 

Voters across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland went to the polls in what both main parties have described as the “most important in a generation”. 

The polls snapped shut at 10pm, the BBC published the results of the exit poll, and the counting got under way in earnest up and down the UK.

It was clear from early on that the Conservatives and Boris Johnson will get a big majority, as Labour’s vote crumbled around England and Scotland.

It’s now official that the Conservatives have returned to power, exceeding the 326 seats required for a majority. 

TheJournal.ie was with you all night and now into the morning with all the updates as we found out who got the keys to Number 10.

Welcome to TheJournal.ie‘s UK General Election liveblog.

Sean Murray here and I’ll have you covered throughout the night with all the updates from the general election.

It may coincide with the annual work Christmas party, but there’s a team of hardy souls pulling an all-nighter despite being faced with the Scrooge-like timing of this election called by Boris Johnson.

The Ghost of Christmas past has visited us here in TJ towers already this evening – with a spectral reminder that Theresa May once had a Brexit deal around Christmastime that she was convinced would get the job done.

Alas.

britain-london-general-election-polling-station Source: Tim Ireland/Xinhua/PA Images

And what about the Ghost of Christmas present? Voter turnout is reported to be high as people have their say in this election.

And while it’s only been two years since the UK’s last general election, this has certainly been a unique one.

My colleague, Órla Ryan, has written this piece on how misinformation has spread across social media during the campaign.

Dominic McGrath, meanwhile, can tell you all about the tight races in Northern Ireland and how they’re encapsulated in the Belfast South constituency.

And for a good rundown of everything you need to know, Rónán Duffy has this piece on what you should look out for this evening.

The Ghost of Christmas Future has not yet arrived.

And it’s really anyone’s guess what it’ll be.

britain-london-general-election-jeremy-corbyn Source: Han Yan/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Will it take the form of a Jubilant Jezza with another snazzy social media post? Or will it be an ecstatic Daily Telegraph declaring they can finally “get Brexit done” with a Boris Johnson majority?

The earliest indication of this could potentially be a decisive one, with the BBC publishing the results of the Ipsos Mori exit poll at 10pm this evening.

This BBC poll accurately predicted the hung parliament result of the 2017 general election. However, it’s not always correct. In 1992 and 2015, it also predicted a hung parliament only for the Tories to romp home with a majority.

If it looks close, expect party spokespeople in earnest coming out immediately to spin it as “we know these polls aren’t always accurate” if it looks bad for their party.

So away from the exit polls, what have the opinion polls been saying?

All of them have been pointing to a Conservative victory – as this Guardian piece points out.

Some taken as recently as yesterday have the Tories on a 12-point lead. Others have the gap as small as five points.

op polls Source: Guardian

general-election-2019 Boris Johnson at a school during the campaign Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The electoral system is actually a bit different in the UK to Ireland, which is why by the time most of you wake up tomorrow we should have a clear result.

The first past the post system means that voters select one candidate when voting, rather than a first or second and so on preference like in the Irish system.

Under FPTP, the candidate who wins the most votes is deemed elected. There is no quota, no eliminations, and no second or third counts.
The effect of the system is that big parties gain a disproportionately larger share of seats, while small parties get a disproportionately smaller share of seats.

Rónán Duffy has more on that here.

Our colleagues over at RTÉ are also gearing up for the election.

Bryan Dobson is used to early starts these days but tonight will be a late one.

Because the counting starts straight away, there’s something of a race to be the first to declare a result.

Sunderland and Newcastle are traditional rivals in the football, but also at counting votes it seems. 

This piece on BBC explains why:

“Sunderland has traditionally been the quickest to reveal the first result of the night – usually within an hour of voting ending. From 1992 until 2015 the first election result was announced there.

“But in 2017 there were gasps when it emerged near neighbours Newcastle had beaten them by a clear nine minutes.

Right so, less than half an hour until the polls close and the exit poll is announced.

Here are some numbers to watch out for:

  • 326 - this is the magic number. If a party gets to that number of seats, they’ve got a majority. However, in practice a majority could be achieved with less depending on how many seats Sinn Féin wins. They historically do not take up their seats.
  • 262 - that’s how many seats Labour won in the last election. To have any realistic chance of getting into government, they must exceed this number of seats.
  • 12 - This is how many seats the Liberal Democrats won in 2017. Any chance they have of making it into government is dependent on increasing this number to become potential kingmakers in a coalition.
  • 10 + 7 - This is how many the DUP and Sinn Féin, respectively, won in 2017. Other parties such as the SDLP and Alliance have been looking to entice voters away from the two largest unionist and nationalist parties. 

uk-general-election-2019 Nuns from the Tyburn Convent arrive at a polling station in London. Source: Matthias Oesterle/PA Images

Sky News is calling it “The Brexit Election”, and they’re not the only ones.

This election of course has huge ramifications for Ireland’s future and what’ll happen with Brexit. 

Speaking earlier today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he’s hoping for a decisive outcome.

If the Conservatives win a majority, Boris Johnson has said he’ll pass his Brexit deal and the UK will leave the EU on 31 January.

Anything but that throws Brexit back into doubt. 

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has said he wants to negotiate a new deal and put it back to the people in a second referendum. But if he relies on other parties to form a government, this could obviously change. 

The big drama is obviously to come.

But in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Elmo greeting Jeremy Corbyn at a polling station this morning.

f236ff07-9e64-4e31-9d92-ebd0612f7904 Source: PA Images

BBC are still showing Kate Winslet on an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

Millions are watching and waiting for it to be over.

Only a few minutes left to go now…

Someone just pointed out I could’ve worked a Titanic pun into the last post.

Any attempt I’d have made just would have sank.

general-election-2017-declaration Source: Niall Carson/PA Images

And speaking of the Titanic, they’re soon about to be counting votes in Belfast at the Titanic Centre.

EXIT POLL RESULTS

  • Conservatives – 368
  • Labour – 191

The Tories have absolutely romped home with a thumping majority according to the exit poll.

Labour have lost over 70 seats according to this.

Wow.

The Liberal Democrats will be on 13 seats, the Scottish National Party on 55 and the Greens on one seat.

The Brexit party have no seats.

But whichever way you look at it, it looks like we’re set for a huge victory for the Conservatives.

Well, whatever “getting Brexit done” means anyways.

Leo Varadkar said earlier he wanted a “decisive” result. If this follow through then it doesn’t get more decisive than that. 

Boris Johnson wants to get his Brexit deal through the House of Commons and leave on 31 January. What will follow then is ongoing trade negotiations that will take at least a year and potentially longer. 

Anyone hoping for high drama tonight may now be let down.

According to the exit poll, this was a very, very, very good election for the Scottish National Party.

They’re on 55, an increase of 20 seats on last time.

Nicola Sturgeon’s consistent calls for another Scottish independence referendum will get a big boost on the back of this.

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This is absolutely dreadful for Labour.

Dreadful.

Jeremy Corbyn will surely be gone tomorrow.

He’s had two tries at it now, and it’s not worked out. It’s Labour’s worst result for a long time. 

Here’s the vote change since 2017:

  • Conservatives +50
  • Labour – 71
  • Lib Dems +1
  • SNP +20
  • Greens – no change

Labour trying to put a brave face on it.

It is too early to call the result of Thursday’s election, a spokesperson for Britain’s opposition Labour Party said, after an exit poll forecast Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives would win a large majority.

“It’s only the very beginning of the night, and it’s too early to call the result,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“We, of course, knew this was going to be challenging election, with Brexit at the forefront of many people’s minds and our country increasingly polarised.”

European leaders were hoping for a decisive result.

They’re all at a meeting in Brussels today and tomorrow.

A Tory majority is bad news for the DUP, as they’ll no longer need the Northern Ireland unionists to support the government. 

But the DUP is still feeling hopeful, apparently.

This is interesting. Apparently, many of the seats are too close to call.

It could mean the Conservative majority is even greater than predicted.

Let’s look closer to home now.

All along, Fianna Fáil has said they’re keeping Fine Gael in power due to Brexit uncertainty. 

If the UK now leaves as expected on 31 January, we could now get a general election here at home sooner rather than later.

Some Labour candidates are tweeting their reaction, and they’re obviously devastated.

Jess Phillips said: “There are very few words for how heartbroken I am for the community I represent who have been through enough.”

A more right-leaning Labour candidate Siobhain McDonagh has said it’s “one man’s fault”.

No prizes for guessing who she means.

The Liberal Democrats are only gaining one seat according to the exit poll.

And it doesn’t look good for its leader Jo Swinson – who may emulate former leader Nick Clegg in beating booted out at a general election.

She looks set to lose her seat in East Dunbartonshire to the SNP. 

general-election-2019 Source: Aaron Chown/PA Images

general-election-2019 Running with the ballot boxes in Sunderland. Source: Nigel Roddis/PA Images

Now, the most exciting race of the night will probably be which seat declares first?

Sunderland will be raging if they don’t grab the headlines in the next hour or so.

EU leaders love certainty.

And so do the currency markets.

The pound has soared against the dollar and the euro on the back of the exit poll result.

Sterling hit an 18-month high against the dollar and was in touching distance of pre-Brexit referendum levels against the euro.

A pound was up 2.21% to 1.347 dollars and up 1.38% to 1.205 euros.

general-election-2019 John McDonnell Source: David Mirzoeff/PA Images

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell has come out to bat for his party, and is pinning the blame for Labour’s failure on Brexit.

He told the BBC: “If it is anywhere near this it will be extremely disappointing for the party overall and for our movement,” he said.

“I think Brexit has dominated, it has dominated everything by the looks of it.

“We thought other issues could cut through and there would be a wider debate, from this evidence there clearly wasn’t.”

Asked about his and Corbyn’s future, he said: “Let’s see the results themselves, as I say, the appropriate decisions will be made and we’ll always make the decisions in the best interests of our party.”

Even though the SNP are gaining lots of seats, they’re not delighted with the expected result of a Tory majority.

Leader Nicola Sturgeon said while the exit poll “suggests a good night” for the SNP, she added that “what it indicates UK wide though is grim”.

If the SNP was to win 55 of the 59 Scottish seats up for grabs, it would be the party’s second best ever result – and only one fewer MP than they secured in 2015, when they won all but three seats north of the border.

general-election-2019-review Source: Danny Lawson/PA Images

Nigel Farage is speaking to the BBC. His party is on course to win zero, zilch, nada.

The Brexit Party said: “Look, we’re a new party. We’ve got no councillors. We’ve got no base.

“We put [Brexit] back on track. I was determined we’d use our influence to stop a second referendum. 

He said “taking the fight to Labour was important”.

Farage says he’d prefer Johnson’s Brexit deal to a second referendum, and he’s pushed by Andrew Neil at previously saying opposing things.

“I killed the Liberal Democrats,” he said. “I hurt the Labour party.” He’s happy to get “half” the Brexit he wants.

Ah here now!

Farage is saying if the Brexit Party had stood in every constituency, there’d be a hung parliament.

Not displeased at all to win no seats. He’s looking forward to joining his pal Donald Trump stateside.

Reminds me of that quite decent tune by XTC.

“And if young Nigel says he’s happy, he must be happy.”

Source: fab70smusic/YouTube

Former Conservative Chancellor George Osborne says this election result will help a “United Federated Ireland” in the next 5-10 years.

Does this election result – alienating the likes of the DUP and Sinn Féin – help the chances of a United Ireland?

Some more mournful pronouncements coming in from Labour MPs.

David Lammy says he’s “more fearful for [his] country than at any point in [his] lifetime”.

Caroline Flint says “sorry we couldn’t offer you a Labour Party you could trust”.

To reinforce that earlier point on Northern Ireland, the Brexit put forward by Boris Johnson is supported by none of the parties there.

Speaking to BBC, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson has said his party’s influence on how Brexit will go hasn’t totally gone. 

With the Conservatives winning a comfortable majority without the need for the DUP to prop them up, it’s not unfair to say that this influence now completely has gone. 

Foreign Secretary – and former Brexit Secretary – Dominic Raab was in danger of losing his seat, but he looks safe to keep his seat. 

“We’ll wait and see,” he told Sky News. “[The exit poll] says we might be OK and that’s our feeling too. Right the way throughout, there’s been pretty positive feedback.”

Fellow Conservative Mark Francois is being pressed fairly hard by Andrew Neil – the interviewer who Boris Johnson avoided – on the BBC.

“In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down,” he said. “In 2019, the red wall came down.”

Oh dearie me.

This red wall refers to previously safe seats in the North of England for Labour. 

We thought we were getting our first result in the general election.

It’s from Blyth Valley in Northumberland.

But they’re going to a brief recount.

Stand down.

Here’s what a Conservative Party spokesperson has said about the exit poll: “This is a projection, not a result, it’s important we wait to see the actual results when they come in.

“What we do know is that voters have rejected Labour’s fudge on Brexit. We needed this election because parliament was doing all it could to frustrate the will of the people.

“A functioning majority would mean we can now finally end the uncertainty and get Brexit done. It would allow the country to come together and move forward by delivering the change people voted for in 2016.

royal-society-of-chemistrys-parliamentary-links-day Source: David Parry/PA

Do we have our first result?

It’s in Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central.

It’s Chi Onwurah for the Labour party.

Sunderland is right behind Newcastle in finishing their count. They’ll be raging.

The winner there is Bridget Maeve Phillipson for Labour.

We also have Blyth Valley – they were so close to being first.

The Tories are on the board. It’s Ian Levy who wins a tight contest there. 

The BBC presenter calls that “one of the big moments of the night”. 

Blyth Valley is a former mining community and had been in Labour hands since 1950.

And now the Conservatives have it.

Expect to see lots more of that tonight. 

Here’s a load of photos from the counts going on all around the UK.

general-election-2019 Source: Lesley Martin

embedded248987025 Source: PA Images

embedded248986865 Source: PA Images

embedded248987024 Source: PA Images

general-election-2019 Source: PA Images

Here’s the counting ongoing at the Omagh Leisure Centre.

We won’t be getting results there for a while.

brexit Source: EMPICS Entertainment

DUP’s Sammy Wilson talking to the BBC now.

Trying to put the best foot forward on Brexit.

“They’ve another year of negotiations for the future trade relationship [with the EU],” he says.

Technical difficulties robbed us of Wilson there but he’s back, thankfully.

“With a big majority, the government may well be in a position where it can yield much more muscle with the EU,” he says. Wilson thinks many of the problems with the deal could now be removed with a Tory majority.

He’s predicting whatever deals Johnson secures may not prove popular with his own MPs and face a similar situation to Theresa May did, giving DUP more relevance again.

Wilson putting his faith in the crystal ball this evening, it seems. 

The BBC have a rather mad looking graphic set up looking at Johnson’s route to victory of tiles with each constituency’s name on it.

The Labour tiles are far, far away from Number 10.

bbc tiles Source: BBC

Some rather curious timing in another bit of news breaking here this evening. 

Just as the exit poll was being announced, the FAI announced its board member John Earley had resigned “in the best interests of Irish football”. 

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy says the timing was no coincidence.

Here’s an interesting one out of Scotland this evening.

Renfrewshire Council has said a possible case of voter fraud has been reported to police. There are three cases under the microscope in Glasgow, and one in Stirling, the BBC reports.

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of an incident earlier today in the Paisley and Renfrewshire North constituency where a member of the public arrived at a polling station to place a vote to find that it had already been cast by another member of the public.”

A Labour MP who’d been outspoken against Jeremy Corbyn has tweeted a strongly-worded rebuke of his party leader.

This would be quite something.

RTÉ’s Barry Lenihan is reporting that Sinn Féin is quietly hopeful that its candidate John Finucane could unseat the DUP’s Nigel Dodds.

Dodds has held the seat since 2001, and finished just 2,000 votes ahead of the Sinn Féin candidate in 2017.

The Greens look set to take only one seat.

It’s co-leader Jonathan Barley has described today as a “very bad night for the climate and for progressive politics”. 

“There is no way of spinning this,” he told BBC News. “It is very bad news.”

There are comparisons being made between this general election and the general election of 1983.

In that one, Margaret Thatcher increased the Tory majority to 397 while Labour led by Michael Foot lost 60 seats and got 209. 

Speaking to ITV News, former Labour chancellor Ed Balls compared both elections and said part of the reason for the crushing loss back in 1983 was “a leader who didn’t command public trust and a manifesto that people feared was going to be expensive and difficult for them to deal with”.

Ooft.

Non-Corbynite Labour really sticking the boot in this evening. 

Gareth Snell won a seat for Labour in 2017 with over 3,000 votes to spare.

He was just asked on BBC if he thinks he’s lost his seat

His simple answer: “Yes.”

We’ve another Conservative seat – won comfortably by Justin Tomlinson in Swindon North.

His majority is 16,000. He’s doubled his majority on 2017.

Big swing.

This is quite the line from former Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt.

He’s told BBC: “The great irony of all of this is that for decades unionists have looked over their shoulders and decided that Irish nationalists were the great threat. But actually it’s English nationalism.”

An interesting stat the eligible electorate in Northern Ireland.

There were 51,273 extra voters eligible this time around compared to 2017.

In tight constituencies, will these extra voters make a difference?

general-election-2019 Counters in Belfast Source: Liam McBurney/PA Images

Here we have the inside take on what’s happening in Conservative HQ.

Understandably delighted.

Insert your jokes about the post-Brexit tariffs on Danish beer, French wine and Japanese whiskey in the comments.

Words can’t quite do justice to how excitable this fellow is on BBC right now with his virtual constituency map.

“Just how many seats will the Conservatives take off Labour?” he ponders while running around his map and doing lots of gesticulating.

virtual map Source: BBC

There have been some results coming in so let’s have a quick recap.

Labour has eight seats so far.

The Conservatives have two. 

We’re coming up to 1am now – that was a quick three hours wasn’t it? – but we’re expecting them to start coming in thick and fast over the next few hours.

I’m not watching it but the Channel 4 alternative election coverage sounds like a hoot.

The interjection you didn’t know you needed from former People Before Profit MLA Eamon McCann.

general-election-2019 DUP candidate for East Antrim Sammy Wilson Source: Liam McBurney/PA Images

Thanks for being with us throughout the night so far.

Here’s some of the main headlines if you just happen to be checking your phone right now:

  • The exit poll has predicted a crushing victory for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives, with a majority of 86.
  • Labour are in freefall with their worst result in decades. Centrist Labour figures have gone on the attack against Jeremy Corbyn. It looks likely he’ll either have to go or be pushed out very quickly.
  • In a signal of what’s to come, the Tories have taken Blyth Valley from Labour – a seat they’d held since the 1950s.
  • The result will likely lead to the UK leaving the EU on 31 January, followed by long negotiations on the future relationship. It also makes a general election in Ireland more likely in the first quarter of 2020. 
  • The DUP’s role as kingmaker’s last time has been stripped from them. But they’ve been putting a brave face on it. 
  • The Scottish National Party looks set to win 50+ seats, boosting their calls for independence.

Words-I-didn’t-think-I’d-be-typing-tonight-that-I-probably-should-have-expected-to-be typing:

Here’s Count Binface and Lord Buckethead facing off at the Uxbridge count.

They’re both vying to unseat Boris Johnson.

Best of luck, lads.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Could be excellent news for the SDLP in Foyle. 

A few early reports suggesting that leader Colum Eastwood could win out over Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion.

If Blyth Valley was a shock, this’d be something else.

A town where the Tories presided over the closure of a steelworks only a few years ago is set to be won… by the Tories.

Elsewhere, Mark Jenkinson has just won a seat for the Conservatives in Workington – another former Labour stronghold.

Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman is gone.

Even in seats Labour are holding, there’s a big swing to the Conservatives.

Ian Lavery has held Wansbeck, but his majority has fallen by 10,435 just two years ago to 814.

Some more strong words here from the UUP’s Mike Nesbitt.

He says: “Brexit is unionism’s biggest ever own goal. And the outcome may be the end of the United Kingdom.”

Strong, strong words.

At one stage earlier on, United Ireland was trending too. Not that that really means anything, but there you go.

Andrew Marr mentioned this a few hours earlier, but here’s a reminder of a bizarre promise made by Tory leader in Scotland Ruth Davidson.

She wrote in the Telegraph last week that she’d “happily wager to strip naked on the banks of Loch Ness and subject myself to a Hogmanay wild swimming session” if the Tories lost their seats in Scotland.

They look like they just might lose them too.

The BBC are outdoing themselves with the graphics.

Your man now has a swingometer. I don’t think he likes this as much as the tiles earlier.

All these graphics so far have meant one thing: bad news for Labour.

swingometer Source: BBC

In lieu of the exit poll, we’re getting a clearer picture in Northern Ireland only in the last hour.

And it looks like things could be bad for the DUP as they could lose two seats.

If Sinn Féin’s John Finucane takes North Belfast away from Nigel Dodds, that one will sting.

And, as the BBC’s Darran Marshall points out, it would mean more nationalists representing Northern Ireland than unionists.

Leave.EU campaign co-founder Arron Banks was positively jubilant on the BBC there a little while ago.

He said it was  “job done” after Tory Remainer MPs were “purged” from the party.

Banks added: “This has always been about pressure. What we’ve tried to do is return the Conservative party to its core roots which I think we have done.”

This is the same Arron Banks who faced a criminal inquiry over the top Brexit donor’s alleged use of offshore companies to finance the campaign to leave the EU.

The Alliance Party look set to take North Down.

Leader and MEP Naomi Long has arrived at the count centre to congratulate Stephen Farry.

Farry takes the seat from outgoing independent Sylvia Hermon. No official confirmation yet though.

This is an ASTONISHING thing for a member of the Democratic Unionist Party to say.

Gregory Campbell says that Boris Johnson must show the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland a tangible benefit of staying in the UK.

This is the DUP saying this. I need to lie down. 

Here’s a quick rundown of where we are right now in terms of confirmed seats.

  • Conservatives – 15
  • Labour – 22
  • SNP – 3
  • Plaid Cymru – 1

Diane Abbott is a Labour stalwart and long-time Corbyn ally.

She repeats his slogan throughout the campaign, and says tonight’s result requires “careful analysis”. 

The SDLP’s Colum Eastwood looks a certainty to take Foyle. He’s just arrived at the count centre.

He looks only chuffed.

general-election-2019 Colum Eastwood and his wife Rachel arriving at the count centre. Source: Niall Carson/PA Images

Is a battle for the soul of the Labour party set to take place now?

Jeremy Corbyn was a long-time leftie, and the organisation Momentum want to keep Labour left even though Corbyn is almost certain now to step down.

Momentum’s national coordinator Laura Parker has said in a statement: “Against that storm, we built a huge movement of hundreds of thousands of ordinary people and they won’t stop until we see real change in this country. We will resist Johnson’s attempt to destroy our NHS. We will keep the Labour party socialist. We will build a Britain for the many, not the few.”

Ah.

Jeremy Corbyn has arrived to the count centre.

He’s smiling and chatting.

Corbyn has held North Islington since 1983.

His reign as leader of the Labour party most likely has mere hours left.

jezza Source: BBC

Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell is fuming.

He wants the Labour party to “reroute their politics back where people live their lives”.

Campbell is said to have been the inspiration for the iconic Malcolm Tucker character from the thick of it. 

Could only imagine the expletive-laden rant Tucker would’ve spewed at the result of that exit poll.

This could the biggest scalp for the Conservatives yet.

The Guardian’s Helen Pidd is reporting that Ed Miliband’s seat of Doncaster North is in jeopardy. 

As an aside, there is a Twitter account called The Miliverse that tweets inane rubbish that could have happened had Ed Miliband become prime minister.

It’s good for the old chuckle.

Like this.

Big retain for the Conservatives in Chingford and Wood Green.

Labour had been targeting veteran Iain Duncan Smith, but he’s held on.

Here’s a photo of him wearing a hat.

brexit Source: John Stillwell/PA Images

Everywhere you look, the Tories are gaining seats.

They’ve won Stockton South, Blackpool South and Wolverhampton East.

Labour’s red wall is crumbling.

Another Labour mainstay crumbles.

Burnley has gone to the Tories.

For years, pieces like this in the UK Independent have been written about how the Burnley football team symbolises a very Brexit Britishness. 

Or is that a British Brexitness?

It’s now 2.50am, and I’m not sure. 

Just back on that Burnley gain for the Tories.

It’s the first time they’ve won the seat since 1931.

Meanwhile, John Finucane has been speaking to reporters ahead of his expected win in North Belfast.

“I think my family will be very proud,” he says. “I want to represent everybody in North Belfast… I tell everyone who’ll listen it’s the best part of Belfast.”

Mary Lou: “He does, yeah.”

Former Labour MP, Former Change UK MP and current Liberal Democrat Chuka Umunna has lost his seat.

Nickie Aiken has won for the Conservatives. 

There have been 195 seats of the 650 filled so far.

The Conservatives are romping home, winning seats Labour held for generations.

  • Conservatives – 90 seats
  • Labour – 78
  • SNP – 16
  • Sinn Féin – 4
  • Liberal Democrats – 3
  • Others – 4

An update on earlier speculation.

Ed Miliband has retained his seat in Doncaster North.

He’s looked awful serious in photos taken of him recently.

autumn-weather-nov-8th-2019 Source: Danny Lawson/PA Images

Here’s what Arlene Foster has had to say after Nigel Dodds lost his seat.

“I am absolutely very disappointed not just for North Belfast but for all of Northern Ireland to lose such a great advocate in Nigel Dodds,” she says. “They’re having someone who’s not even going to go to Westminster.

“It’s very clear the demography wasn’t there,” she says. “The pan-nationalist front has come to fruition again in North Belfast.”

Oh. 

With the caveat of a punching story not being the case earlier this week, Sky’s Kate McCann has said that someone has just got punched at the count at John McDonnell’s constituency of Hayes and Harlington.

Labour’s shadow chancellor had just been announced as retaining his seat.

A slightly familiar face in this election is former Conservative candidate for London Mayor Zac Goldsmith.

He’s lost out to Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney in the Richmond Park constituency.

He’s been heavily defeated too, with Olney getting a majority of 7,766.

Here’s Goldsmith at the unveiling of 21 bronze life-sized elephants at Marble Arch in London last week.

21-bronze-elephants-unveiled-in-london-uk-04-dec-2019 Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Gregory Campbell, the DUP candidate you heard earlier say Boris Johnson needed to provide a good reason for people in Northern Ireland to remain in the UK, has retained East Londonderry.

jez 2 Source: BBC

Jeremy Corbyn has easily retained his seat, as expected. His majority is 26,188.

He speaks: “The attacks that take place against the family and loved ones of politicians is disgraceful and disgusting.”

He pays tribute to his wife and three sons for “putting up” with the intrusion from the media.

“This is a very disappointing night for the Labour Party,” he says.

Corbyn says policies he put forth were popular during the campaign.

“Brexit has so polarised debate in this country,” he says. “I recognise this has contributed to the result the Labour party is experiencing this evening.”

Corbyn says the issues affecting the country won’t go away just because Boris Johnson gets the Brexit he wants. 

general-election-2019 Source: Joe Giddens/PA Images

Corbyn says he won’t lead Labour into another general election.

He didn’t quite resign but signalled he will step aside.

He said the party needs a “process of reflection”. 

Labour veteran Hillary Benn straight up next on BBC. Says Corbyn gave a “very dignified” speech. 

He predicts Boris Johnson will have a “very difficult” time as prime minister. 

More seats taken in Northern Ireland.

Sammy Wilson is returned in East Antrim and Paul Girvan is back in in South Antrim.

A full list of the seats in the North is here

2.48144062 Richard Leonard Source: PA Images

Amidst the many Labour narratives in this election is its ongoing slow death in Scotland.

Scotland used to vote heavily for Labour but the SNP has repeatedly won seats off the party in recent elections. 

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has described results for his party as “deeply disappointing”.

He said Labour had “tried to talk about what we felt were important things”, as he said he regretted deeply that the party had lost MPs such as Danielle Rowley to the SNP in Midlothian.

Labour’s Ged Killen also lost his Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat to the SNP, while former Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill won the East Lothian constituency from Martin Whitfield.

Leonard added: “I think there is no doubt we said we wanted to get through the din of Brexit and the constitutional issue in Scotland and I just don’t think we were able to do that sufficiently and effectively enough.”

general-election-2019 Source: Stefan Rousseau/PA Images

And here’s the ascension of Boris Johnson.

There’s lads dressed as Elmo and others with buckets or bins on their heads up against him.

Irish woman Norma Burke has won 22 votes.

Boris Johnson has gotten 25,351 seats. He has a majority of 7,000 over his Labour rival there.

You’ll never guess what he’s just said.

Never.

Not in a million years.

He’s said: “Let’s get Brexit done.”

Johnson thanks Lord Buckethead and the people of Britain. 

general-election-2019 Source: Ian Rutherford/PA Images

And here we have Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson’s constituency. She was in danger.

Swinson has LOST her seat.

An ignominious result for Swinson as she follows Nick Clegg in being a Lib Dem leader to lose her seat.

She loses to SNP’s Amy Callaghan in Dumbarton East by 149 votes.

Turnout was 80% there. 

Closer to home now and the SDLP’s Claire Hanna has been elected to South Belfast.

She crushes the DUP’s Emma Little-Pengelly by over 15,000 votes. Sinn Féin’s decision not to field a candidate surely helped Hanna.

We’re still on course for more nationalist seats than unionist seats to be won in Northern Ireland.

Jo Swinson only became leader of the Lib Dems five months ago.

Her majority of 5,339 in 2017 turned into a defeat by 149 votes.

In her speech, she’s not resigned.

Hard to see how she can stay on, though. 

Here’s Swinson speaking.

She says a “wave of nationalism is sweeping on both sides of the border”.

She also says that millions in the country will watch the results with “dismay”. The Lib Dem leader also hints that she might step down later in the day.

More from Swinson’s speech there.

“I would like to thank the people of East Dunbartonshire for putting your faith in me for 12 and a half years to representing this wonderful place. I have enjoyed serving our communities. I have enjoyed having the opportunity to make a difference.

“Tonight we have seen that it is likely that Boris Johnson is on course to get a majority. And it is clearly a good night for the SNP.

“Some will be celebrating the wave of nationalism that is sweeping on both sides of the border, and I do congratulate all those that are newly elected. These are very significant results for the future of our country and I will be making further remarks later today.

“But let me say now, for millions of people in our country, these results will bring dread and dismay and people are looking for hope. I still believe we as a country can be warm and generous, inclusive and open, and that by working together with our nearest neighbours, we can achieve so much more.

The SDLP’s Colum Eastwood hasn’t had his seat in Foyle confirmed yet, but Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion gave him a little cuddle in congratulation.

Okay, so where are we now?

Here’s the current state of the parties:

  • Conservative – 225
  • Labour – 153
  • SNP – 36
  • Sinn Féin – 5
  • Liberal Democrat – 7
  • Plaid Cymru – 4 
  • DUP – 5
  • SDLP – 1
  • Alliance – 1

general-election-2019 Source: Andrew Milligan/PA Images

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is talking to the BBC.

“The results were seeing exceed the expectations I had,” she said. “Scotland has sent a very clear message. We don’t want a Boris Johnson Conservative government.”

It’s put to her that Boris Johnson isn’t likely to grant Scotland a referendum.

She said the election result is a strong endorsement of Scotland deciding its future.

“He must accept I’ve a mandate to offer Scotland an alternate future,” she says of Boris Johnson. 

Guess who’s back… back again… Theresa’s back etc etc.

Haven’t heard her say Brexit, future relationship or negotiation in a while. 

Ah, memories.

She’s easily won her seat in Maidenhead too. Her majority was 18,000 this time, compared to 26,000 when she was prime minister in 2017.

brexit may Source: BBC

One of the infamous Tory rebels against Boris Johnson – Dominic Grieve – has lost his seat.

He loses to Conservative Joy Morrissey.

In his speech, he says the union is now in serious danger.

The Greens were expected to get one seat.

And they’ve got one.

Caroline Lucas is re-elected with a huge majority in Brighton Pavillion.

Colum Eastwood has just been confirmed in Foyle.

And there’s a recount in Fermanagh and South Tyrone as it’s a close one between Sinn Féin and the UUP.

We’re almost there. 

509 of the 650 seats have been filled.

The Conservatives are currently on 265, Labour are on 178 and the SNP are on 41.

Labour have already lost 50 seats.

In slightly – and I mean slightly – good news for Labour, the exit poll had them on 191 seats.

It looks like they could actually get 196.

It’ll still be their worst election since before World War II.

The most British response ever.

Caroline Flint has lost her seat for Labour in Don Valley. She’s been a member of the Labour party for 40 years.

She’s asked what her next move.

“I’m going for a cup of tea,” she says. 

autumn-weather-nov-9th-2019 Flint with Jeremy Corbyn last month. Source: Danny Lawson/PA Images

In remain constituencies, Labour and Lib Dems shooting themselves in the foot as their split of the vote has gifted the Conservatives victory.

First past the post means you just get one vote so people have to choose one or the other.

In Wimbledon, the Lib Dems lost by just 600. Labour polled over 12,000.

Stephen Hammond wins out for the Tories.

Did you need another angle of Nicola Sturgeon absolutely sending it? 

Here it is.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

It reminds me of this lad when that awful, awful man Marc Overmars scored for Arsenal in Old Trafford.

source (1)

A BBC reporter -  I will eternally regret not getting her name – highlighting how the Brexit Party candidate who failed in Kensington was a member of Bucks Fizz.

“It was a case of the electorate making their minds up,” she says.

Source: BucksFizzVEVO/YouTube

Remember Andrew Griffiths?

He was the guy who admitted to trying to run off and leave his wife for a young one.

He stood down from frontline politics after a sexting scandal and his wife Kate took his place. 

While Andrew Griffiths has said he would throw his backing behind the new candidate, Kate said she would she not be taking up his offer.

She’s won a seat for the Conservatives in Burton.

Ian Paisley Jr has retained his seat in North Antrim for the DUP. 

This completely not real Twitter account in his name is still fooling people to this day. 

I wish I was still as excited about this election as the BBC’s graphics man is.

Now he’s in a virtual House of Commons.

graphics man Source: BBC

A great way to sum up just how much Labour’s red wall has collapsed from the Financial Times’ Sebastian Payne here.

He lists the majorities Labour had in constituencies that have gone over to the Conservatives in this election.

There was never any doubt.

The Conservatives have officially won a majority.

They have 329 seats, three more than they need for a majority.

Boris Johnson will be the Prime Minister.

And we’ve a much clearer idea now what will happen with Brexit. Johnson has said the UK will leave on 31 January.

But while the “transition period” is still ongoing, the UK will seek to secure trade and customs arrangements with the EU.

Brexit isn’t over yet. Not by a long shot. But it should begin to dominate news cycles less and less now.

It’s happening. No ifs, ands or buts at this stage. 

Just when it so happened the Conservatives secured enough for a majority, they won a seat in Bolsover.

Another Labour loss with Denis Skinner losing out to Mark Fletcher.

philip-hammond-jibe-at-dennis-skinner Source: PA

Dennis Skinner – who lost Bolsover – had been an MP there for Labour since 1970.

The 87-year-old looks set to quit politics now. 

It was a very poor night for the DUP. They’ve lost out to the Alliance, SDLP and Sinn Féin in key seats.

Here’s Arlene Foster hugging it out with Nigel Dodds after he lost his seat earlier.

general-election-2019 Source: Liam McBurney/PA Images

According to the BBC’s estimates, the Conservatives could end up with 45% of the vote share.

Whatever way you look at it, that’s a dominant victory.

It’s higher than Blair’s vote share in 1997 and any Margaret Thatcher had across her three victories.

Labour have defied the odds. 

They’re now over 200 seats.

Former Labour minister Yvette Cooper has held her seat and she thinks there’s a huge gap opening up in party support in towns vs cities.

She told the BBC a little earlier: “That’s more than the Brexit debate – we’re no longer being seen as a party that stands up for towns, even though towns have been harder hit by austerity and changing economic patterns that the Conservatives haven’t dealt with.”

An SNP candidate who was dropped over alleged anti-semitic comments has won a seat in Westminster despite the party withdrawing its support. 

Neale Hanvey beat Lesley Laird, winning 16,568 votes to his Labour opponent’s 15,325.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said before the election that party members should not support Hanvey, who is the subject of a disciplinary process, and should instead be going to other neighbouring constituencies to campaign for candidates there.

Either way, he’s going to Westminster.

There are 21 seats left to fill, with Dewsbury the latest to go to the Conservatives.

The ever-watchful Downing Street cat, meanwhile, is awaiting Boris’ return.

general-election-2019 Source: Yui Mok/PA Images

Here’s how Northern Ireland is looking with 17/18 seats filled.

The DUP have 8 seats, a fall from 2 in 2017.

Sinn Féin currently have 6, and are on course to win a 7th which would be the same as the last election.

The SDLP have won 2 seats – with important victories for Colum Eastwood and Claire Hanna.

The Alliance have also won their first seat in Westminster with Stephen Farry taking North Down. 

I’ve said almost there several times.

Never has it been more truer than right now. 

There are just 11 seats left to be filled, and one of them is in Northern Ireland. 

The Tories currently on 357 seats. 

You can imagine Boris Johnson making an extended victory speech outside Downing Street later today.

You can imagine him saying “get Brexit done” several times.

Here’s what he had to say earlier as the Conservatives romped to victory.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Here’s a nice graphic from the BBC on how the North is looking.

Again, Sinn Féin looking likely to take that last seat in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

I haven’t gone to bed yet and neither has Donald Trump.

And that’s it from me. 

Thanks so much to you all for sticking with us overnight.

It lacked much drama in the end – although Nicola Sturgeon wouldn’t think so – as Johnson and the Conservatives swept to victory. 

The rest of TheJournal.ie team will be with you throughout the morning and the rest of the day with all the latest news and analysis.

Watch out for a special early-morning edition of our podcast The Explainer that could bring you up to speed on your commute today. 

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