International News Headline: The Conservatives are set to win an overall majority of 86 in the general election, according to an exit poll for the BBC, The election taken at UK polling stations suggests the Tories will get 368 MPs – 50 more than at the 2017 election – when all the results have been counted.
Labour would get 191, the Lib Dems 13, the Brexit Party none and the SNP 55In one of the first seats to declare, the Conservatives took Blyth Valley in north-east England from Labour.
Election results 2019: Tories on course to win a majority – exit poll
This is the first time the former mining area, which voted Leave in the EU referendum, will have a Conservative MP – NHS worker Ian Levy. The handful of results so far were broadly in line with the exit poll, which was conducted by Ipsos Mori at 144 polling stations, with 22,790 interviews, polling expert Sir John Curtice told BBC News.
Labour’s vote is predicted to be nearly 12% down on the 2017 general election, with the Conservatives up 2.5% and the smaller parties having a better night.
The pound surged against the dollar after the exit poll figures were announced as polls closed at 22:00 GMT, with sterling gaining 3% to $1.35 – its highest level since May last year. The pound also jumped to a three-and-a-half-year high against the euro.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government will move quickly to “get Brexit done” before Christmas by introducing legislation in Parliament if it is returned to power. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the BBC the exit poll was “extremely disappointing” for Labour if it was correct.
“I thought it would be closer,” he said, and he blamed what he called a “Brexit election,” when Labour had been hoping “other issues could cut through”.
He told the BBC’s Andrew Neil decisions would be made about party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s future when the actual results were in.
Some Labour candidates have criticised Mr Corbyn’s leadership.
Phil Wilson, who is standing in Sedgefield – a Tory target – tweeted: “To blame Brexit for the result is mendacious nonsense. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership was a bigger problem. To say otherwise is delusional.
“The party’s leadership went down like a lead balloon on the doorstep.”
Gareth Snell, who said he expected to lose Leave-voting Stoke Central to the Conservatives, called for Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell to go but also blamed anti-Brexit members of Labour’s top team for pushing the party towards a Remain message.