British general election: Winners and losers
Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson, women MPs; Theresa May, Ukip, the right wing press
A demonstrator wears a mask depicting British prime minister Theresa May. Photograph: Getty Images
Politics is a funny old game. By any normal measure Labour were soundly beaten last night. However, many expected Corbyn to do much worse. Instead he increased Labour’s share of seats by 29 and dealt an almost fatal blow to the Conservatives “strong and stable” narrative. If you were to say a month ago that Corbyn would outlast May as their parties’ leader, you would have been laughed at.
With Theresa May hanging on by a thread as Tory leader, foreign secretary Boris Johnson may be the first to sharpen the knife. Bookies have slashed odds on him being the next prime minister and this morning he refused to rule out a leadership bid, saying only that “it’s early days”.
In a straight orange or green vote in Fermanagh-South Tyrone, Sinn Fein’s Gildernew beat the UUP’s Tom Elliot in a tight vote. As is Sinn Féin policy, Gildernew will not take her Westminster seat and will instead seek speaking rights in the Daíl.
The independent unionist was the sole exception to the wipe-out of moderate unionist and nationalist candidates in Northern Ireland. However Lady Hermon’s share of the vote was severely reduced by the DUP challenger and she was visibly angry last night at May for calling an “unnecessary election”.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Conservatives last night. The party made significant gains in Scotland at the expense of Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP. The Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson had a strong campaign and some are already wondering if she could be a future leader of the party for the UK,
The Lib Dem veteran was given the boot by voters in Twickenham in 2015 but remained on the political scene. It paid off last night when he won his seat back with a comfortable majority of almost 10,000 votes.
It’s been a tough election for pollsters who have struggled to settle on a common narrative. Not so for Curtice a political scientist and the man behind the BBC’s exit poll. This year the poll was nearly spot on, accurately predicting a hung parliament.
It was a bad night for May but a good one for women parliamentarians in general. The election returned 192 female MPs, a record number.
After calling an unneeded election with the express aim of increasing her mandate and having done exactly the opposite, May’s position seems almost untenable. She has said she’s not going anywhere. A lot of angry Tories will say otherwise. The Conservative leader faces a Hard Breakfast this morning.
It couldn’t have been a more dismal night for the SDLP. The party lost all three of its Westminster seats. What’s worse is all three were held by former party leaders.
The former SDLP and deputy first minister suffered a shock upset, losing his seat to Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion by just 167 votes in Derry.
The Ulster Unionist Party suffered the most from the DUP’s almost clean sweep of Northern Ireland’s unionist Westminster seats. The fact that unionists could hold the balance of power in the next parliament will make the loss all the more bitter.
The UUP man won his seat in south Antrim from the DUP in 2015. Now the situation has reversed itself. What was expected to be a tight vote turned into a near rout for the former soldier.
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats
Clegg failed to hold off a Labour surge in the Sheffield Hallam constituency. Liberal Democrats anti-brexit message didn’t resonate with voters and their refusal to entertain notions of entering a collation might have been the final nail in Clegg’s coffin.
The far right party has been a victim of its own success. Frightened Tories began to emulate the party’s nativist policies, drawing alienated voters back into the conservative stable. UKIP received less that 2 per cent of the vote, down from a high of 12.5 per cent under Nigel Farage in 2015.
The SNP and Alex Salmond
When Alex Salmond nabbed his seat in the Aberdeenshire constituency of Gordon in 2015 he announced “a Scottish lion is roaring tonight”. That lion is silent today. The loss of about 22 seats for the SNP will severely dent its ambitions for a second independence referendum for Scotland.
The British right wing press
Newspapers like the Daily Express and The Sun abandoned all pretence at objectivity in the final days of the election to come out in favour of the Tories. The day before the vote the Daily Mail devoted 13 pages to attacking Labour, Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and John McDonnell under the headline: “Apologists for terror”.
BBC viewers were treated to a right old ding dong last night as political commentator Kellner clashed with pollster John Curtice. Kellner had to eat humble pie after insisting Curtice’s exit poll was wrong and the Tories would achieve a majority.