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UK Conservative party to win majority of 86 seats, says exit poll

By Michael Pilgrim

First indication of general election result suggests Boris Johnson will secure an overall majority

Boris Johnson’s Conservative party is heading for a majority of 86 seats in the UK general election, according to an exit poll.

The result would give Johnson the ability to conclude a Brexit deal swiftly and withdraw Britain from the European Union. It would be the largest Tory majority since Margaret Thatcher’s third victory in 1987, a gain of around 50 seats and a swing from Labour of 11 per cent. It would mean Labour losing 71 seats and the Scottish National Party gaining 20.

The exit poll, released shortly after the polling stations closed at 10pm suggests the Conservatives would win 368 seats, Labour would get 191 seats, with the Liberal Democrats on 13, the Scottish National Party on 55 and the Green Party on 1. Other parties would win 19 seats. The Brexit party would win none.

The pound rose after the exit poll was released, up 2.2 per cent on the day against the dollar at around 1.3491, an 18-month high.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the BBC that if the exit poll was correct, the result would be “extremely disappointing”. He said the problem was not Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership but Brexit: "We knew it would be tough because Brexit has dominated."

Constituencies will announce their actual results throughout the night.

The exit poll, jointly commissioned by the BBC, ITV News and Sky News, was undertaken by Ipsos Mori. It surveyed 23,790 voters at 144 polling stations across England, Scotland and Wales. These seats are supposedly representative of the country, both urban and rural, and voters are approached by researchers at regular intervals and asked to fill in a replica ballot paper.

Exit polls have a good track record, having only failed to get it right in 1992 and 2015, when they predicted hung parliaments, rather than Conservative majorities for John Major and David Cameron.

The exit poll accurately forecast that Theresa May would humiliatingly lose her majority in 2017, in contrast to earlier polling that suggested she would comfortably overhaul Corbyn.

FURTHER READING: The UK election: predicting potential market scenarios

FURTHER READING: Brexit and election jitters put brakes on UK house prices

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