The broadcaster’s exit poll results projected on the outside of the BBC building in London shows … [+]
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Topline: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks set to score a solid majority that will secure parliamentary support for his Brexit, after the U.K. voted in its third general election in less than five years.
- Ipsos MORI exit polls show a the Conservatives on course to win 368 seats—a solid majority and far above the 326 seats needed to secure a parliamentary majority. Opposition party Labour look set for an historic loss, and are on course to secure 191 seats.
- If the polls are accurate, it would mean the Conservatives gain 50 seats and Labour lose 71 seats. It’s important to note that exit polls were correct in the 2017 U.K. election. COmmentators have noted that this would be the worst loss for Labour since 1935.
- Britons headed to the polls on Thursday—mostly in the rain—for the first December vote since 1923. Polls were open for 15 hours, between 7am and 10pm GMT.
- The vote was widely seen as a crunch moment for determining Britain’s path in terms of Brexit, while the NHS was also a key point around which the major political parties rallied.
- Johnson framed his campaign as a call to “get Brexit done,” however it was marred by concerns about misinformation and false claims on behalf of his party. In the days approaching the election, a study by fact-checking organization First Draft found that 88% of Conservative party adverts contained misinformation.
- Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn campaigned on higher taxes for high earners, safeguarding the NHS, and giving voters a final say on a new Brexit deal.
- As the campaign neared a close, major polls showed Johnson significantly ahead of Labour.
- Voters are asked to fill in mock ballot papers after they leave the polling station. Those results make up the exit poll prediction.
Key background: Johnson called the election in October, after failing to fulfill his promise of getting the U.K. out of the European Union by October 31. That defeat was a blow for Johnson, who became prime minister in July after former PM Theresa May resigned after she failed to get support for her Brexit deal.
Following a similar defeat, Johnson claimed that the election would be a chance to break the “deadlock.” The Conservatives campaigned on Brexit primarily, but also on crime. However Johnson’s campaign tactics were widely criticised for his selective appearances. He failed to turn up to a number of key televised debates, including one on the climate crisis, where an ice block was positioned onstage in his place.
What to watch for: The first results will start trickling in from across 650 constituencies from 11pm GMT and through the early hours of Friday, with the final result to be declared as the U.K. wakes up.
The majority will be a boon for the Conservatives, who will now set out to get the U.K. out of the EU by the new deadline of January 31. Johnson then has a transition period that lasts until the end of 2020, during which he will have to negotiate a trade deal with the 27 EU nations.
Markets outlook: The pound rose dramatically against the dollar, to $1.35. On Thursday, the pound rose to a seven month high against the dollar as investors grew confident of a Conservative majority that could steady the uncertainty around Brexit.
Tangent: Unpredictably, Thursday gave rise to one of the U.K.’s favourite election day traditions: #DogsAtPollingStations, with voters sharing photos of their canine companions dutifully posing outside the voting sites.