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Boris Johnson hails 'political earthquake' victory

2019-12-13 HKT 15:20
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  • Boris Johnson says voters had given him 'a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done'. Photo: AP
    Boris Johnson says voters had given him 'a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done'. Photo: AP
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday hailed a political "earthquake" after securing a sweeping election win, which clears the way for Britain to finally leave the European Union next month after years of political deadlock.

With almost all results declared for the 650-seat parliament, Johnson's Conservative party had secured 362 seats -- its biggest majority since the heyday of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

"We must understand now what an earthquake we have created," Johnson later told party staff, according to the Press Association news agency.

He earlier declared when he was re-elected as an MP that voters had given him "a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done".

By contrast the main opposition Labour party endured a terrible night, losing 59 seats to 203, forcing leader Jeremy Corbyn to announce plans for his departure.

The anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats announced they would replaced Jo Swinson as leader after she lost her seat in western Scotland to the Scottish National Party (SNP).

The pound had risen late on Thursday on hopes that Johnson will now deliver his promise to "Get Brexit Done" after years of uncertainty over Britain's future.

With a large majority of MPs, he will be able to get the divorce deal he struck with Brussels through parliament in time to meet the next Brexit deadline of January 31.

US President Donald Trump on Friday congratulated Johnson on his election victory, saying their two countries were now free to strike a "massive" new trade deal.

Several high-profile campaigners against Brexit lost their seats. Nigel Dodds, the Westminster leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which propped up the previous Conservative government, also lost his seat in Belfast.

Former Conservative attorney general Dominic Grieve, who led attempts to give parliament a greater say over how and when Britain leaves the European Union, failed to become an independent MP.

Grieve was expelled from Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative party for rebelling over Brexit.

Two others who were also expelled, former cabinet minister David Gauke and Anne Milton, also failed to be re-elected as independents.

Another leading Tory critic of Brexit, Anna Soubry, failed to win election as a member of her own new party.

Former Conservative London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith, the brother of Jemimah Goldsmith, the ex-wife of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, also lost his seat in the capital.

Luciana Berger, who left the main opposition Labour party over its handling of anti-Semitism, had sought a new seat for the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats in London but she was defeated. (AFP)