The United Kingdom’s Conservative Party has won a resounding victory in a general election dominated by the question of how to execute the country’s exit from the European Union.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the result represented a “new dawn” for the UK and promised to work “flat out” to deliver Brexit by a January 31 deadline.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he will step down early next year following the worst loss for the main opposition party since 1935.
This is how events unfolded:
Friday, December 13
Johnson urges unity after election win
Johnson has called on the different nations of the UK and those on opposing sides of the Brexit debate to “let the healing begin” following the Conservatives’ election victory.
“I frankly urge everyone on either side of what are – after three and a half years – an increasingly arid argument, I urge everyone to find closure and to let the healing begin,” Johnson said in a speech outside 10 Downing Street, his official residence.
“We are going to unite and level up, bringing together the whole of this incredible United Kingdom; England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland together. Taking us forward, unleashing the potential of the whole country, delivering opportunity across the entire nation”.
The final results are in
With all votes counted, the final results are:
Conservatives: 365 seats
Labour: 203 seats
Scottish Nationalist Party: 48 seats
Liberal Democrats: 11 seats
Results ‘reinforces’ case for Scottish independence poll: Sturgeon
Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon has said her party’s strong performance in the election reinforced the case for holding a fresh referendum on Scottish independence.
“The stunning election win from last night for the SNP renews, reinforces and strengthens the mandate we have from previous elections to offer the people of Scotland a choice over their future,” she said after her party picked up 48 out of Scotland’s 59 seats.
The first Scottish independence referendum – hailed as a “once in a lifetime” vote – failed in 2014, when 55 percent of Scots voted in favour of remaining in the UK. However, Scotland overwhelmingly opposed Brexit, reigniting the debate.
Sturgeon said the Scottish government would offer a “detailed, democratic case for a transfer of power to enable a referendum” next week.
UK elects record number of women lawmakers
A record number of women have been elected as members of parliament, with women’s rights campaigners cheering the result but saying process towards equal representation must be sped up.
Women now represent just over a third of all MPs, taking 220 seats out of 650 in the UK’s lower house compared with 208 in the 2017 election.
“More women MPs than ever before is very welcome but we are inching forwards, up from 32 percent to just 34 percent,” said Sam Smethers, the chief executive of women’s rights group The Fawcett Society.
“Instead of congratulating ourselves for extremely slow progress, let’s see a commitment from all the political parties to action to make the step change that is needed. It’s time for equal power”.
Putin seeks ‘constructive dialogue’ with Johnson: Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for “constructive dialogue” with Johnson as he congratulated him on the decisive general election victory.
“I am sure that the development of constructive dialogue and cooperation in various spheres would be fully in the interests of our countries’ peoples and the entire European continent,” he said in statement.
Earlier on Friday, the Kremlin had said it doubted that Johnson’s election win would improve Russo-UK relations, damaged the 2018 poisoning of the former Russian spy and double agent Sergei Skripal, which the UK has blamed on Russia.
France’s Macron warns against ‘unfair competition’ after Brexit
French President Emmanuel Macron has warned the UK against “unfair” competition with the EU after Brexit.
“My hope is that the United Kingdom remains an ally, a friend and an extremely close partner. The condition is to define the rules of a fair relations,” Macron said after an EU summit in Brussels, amid fears London will seek to lower taxes and regulations after Brexit.
“We do not want Britain to be an unfair competitor”.
Johnson heads to Buckingham Palace
Johnson has left his Downing Street residence headed to Buckingham Palace to ask Queen Elizabeth II for formal permission to create a new government.