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No ifs, no buts and no second referendum - Johnson hails 'stonking' mandate


Boris Johnson says he's "ended the gridlock" in British politics with the Conservatives' best general election result since 1987 - achieved by tearing seats from Labour in its heartlands.

With 648 of the UK's 650 constituencies to have declared their results, the Tories had won 363 seats to deliver a huge House of Commons majority.

It is set to be the largest majority of any government since 2001 and the Conservatives' highest number of seats since Margaret Thatcher was their leader.

The prime minister will now visit the Queen to form a government having secured what he described as a "powerful new mandate to get Brexit done".

Speaking at a victory rally in Westminster before sunrise this morning, Mr Johnson told Tory activists: "We did it, we pulled it off didn't we?

"We broke the deadlock, we ended the gridlock, we smashed the roadblock."

He added: "With this election I think we've put an end to all those miserable threats of a second referendum."

Meanwhile - as their fabled "red wall" of seats in the North and Midlands crumbled in the face of Mr Johnson's pro-Leave message - Labour suffered their worst election result, in terms of seats, since 1935.

They had won 203 seats by 7am - some 59 seats down on their result at the 2017 election.

Jeremy Corbyn responded by announcing he would not lead Labour in any future general election campaign after a "very disappointing night".

But he suggested he would not be departing as Labour leader immediately and would instead oversee a "process of reflection" in the party.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson also suffered a miserable night, after failing to secure re-election to parliament by losing her East Dunbartonshire seat to the SNP.

Her party will hold a leadership election in the New Year to choose her successor.

"This is clearly a setback for liberal values," she said after the Lib Dems failed to make a breakthrough on Thursday night.

"But there are millions of people across the country who believe in them.

"By coming together to fight for them, we can create a positive future."

Ms Swinson's loss in her constituency came as the SNP also gained other seats to return to near-complete dominance across Scotland.

SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon refreshed her call for a second Scottish independence referendum as she claimed her country and the rest of the UK are on "divergent paths".

For the first time in Northern Ireland's history, nationalist MPs were set to outnumber unionist MPs, after the DUP lost two seats.

This included the DUP's Westminster leader Nigel Dodds losing his North Belfast seat.

The foundation of the Conservatives' election victory was based on winning a swathe of seats in Leave-supporting areas, many of which had been held by Labour ever since they were created.

The result suggests a fundamental realignment of UK politics, with many of those constituencies won by the Tories on Thursday night having delivered large Labour majorities under former prime minister Tony Blair.

These include seats such as Bolsover, which had been held by Labour since it's creation in 1950, and Newcastle-under-Lyme, which had been held by Labour since the end of the First World War.

In a recording obtained by website BuzzFeed, Mr Johnson told aides at the Conservative Party's headquarters that "no one can now refute" his "stonking mandate" to deliver Brexit.

He added: "We must understand now what an earthquake we have created. The way in which we have changed the political map of this country.

"We have to grapple with the consequences of that, we have to change our own party, we have to rise to the level of events, we must... we must answer the challenge that the British people have given us."

However, it was not a complete success for Mr Johnson on Thursday night, with the Tories' losing seats in Remain-supporting areas such as Putney, won by Labour, and St Albans, won by the Lib Dems.