British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have won an outright majority in parliament, according to a tally of seats won so far by broadcaster ITV.
The official exit poll projected the Conservatives would win a total of 368 seats. With 595 of parliament’s 650 seats declared, the Conservatives have won 326, ITV said.
For Johnson, whose 20-week tenure in power has been marked by chaotic scenes in parliament and stark division on the streets over Britain’s tortuous departure from the European Union, the victory in Thursday’s contest is vindication.
Educated at the country’s most elite school and recognisable by his bombastic style, the 55-year-old must not only deliver Brexit but also convince Britons that the contentious divorce, which would lead to lengthy trade talks, is worth it.
A landslide Conservative marks the ultimate failure of opponents of Brexit who plotted to thwart a 2016 referendum vote through legislative combat in parliament and prompted some of the biggest protests in recent British history.
“I think this will turn out to be a historic election that gives us now, in this new government, the chance to respect the democratic will of the British people,” Johnson said after winning his seat of Uxbridge.
He said the Conservatives appeared to have won “a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done”.
Labour were forecast to win 191 seats, the worst result for the party since 1935, after offering voters a second referendum and the most radical socialist government in generations. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would step down.