Exit Polls Predict Conservatives Expected to Win Overwhelming Majority In UK Elections
An exit poll in Britain’s election projects that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party likely will win a majority of seats in Parliament, an outcome that would allow Johnson to fulfill his plan to take the U.K. out of the European Union next month.
BBC/Sky News exit polls indicate the Conservatives winning 368 seats, a gain of 51 seats, and Labor getting just 191 seats, declining 71 seats. SNP received 55, or a gain of 20, and Liberal Democrats gaining 1, going from 12 to 13. The House of Commons has a total of 650 seats, and if the prediction holds, the majority won by the Conservatives exceeds the minimum of 326 needed to form a government without the need to entice other parties to join a coalition.
Based on interviews with voters leaving 144 polling stations across the country, the poll is conducted for a consortium of U.K. broadcasters and regarded as a reliable, though not exact, indicator of the likely result.
Polls have closed across the U.K. and ballots are being counted, with official results expected early Friday. If Conservatives do win a majority of seats, it will vindicate Johnson’s decision to press for Thursday’s early election, which was held nearly two years ahead of schedule.
He said that if the Conservatives won a majority, he would get Parliament to ratify his Brexit divorce deal and take the U.K. out of the EU by the current Jan. 31 deadline. That would fulfill the decision of British voters in 2016 to leave the EU, three and a half years after the divisive referendum result. It would start a new phase of negotiations on future relations between Britain and the 27 remaining EU members.
A Conservative victory would also raise questions over the future of Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who will have led his left-of-center party to two electoral defeats since 2017.
The British pound surged on the news, jumping over two cents against the dollar, to $1.3445, the highest in more than a year and a half. Many investors hope a Conservative win would speed up the Brexit process and ease, at least in the short term, some of the uncertainty that has corroded business confidence since the 2016 vote.
Corbyn has been accused of allowing anti-Semitism to spread within the party. The 70-year-old left-winger is portrayed by opponents as an aging Marxist with unsavory past associations with Hamas and the IRA.