Boris Johnson Calls For 'Closure' On Brexit After Election Victory
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked Britons to "find closure" after a landslide election victory sees the country on a path toward finally exiting the European Union.
Outside his residence at 10 Downing Street in London on Thursday (local time), Johnson urged Britons on either side of politics to begin to heal.
"I know that after five weeks, frankly, of electioneering, this country deserves a break from wrangling, a break from politics and a permanent break from talking about Brexit," he said.
Johnson is now expected to ratify the Brexit deal struck with the EU, allowing Britain to leave on January 31.
Under a Conservative election promise, that leaves just eleven months for a transition period where the majority of trade deals will have to be struck with European nations.
The Conservative Party won the overall majority in the UK general election, winning 365 seats out of 650 in the House of Commons.
The election result saw the Conservatives gain the highest share of votes, at 43.6 per cent, since Margaret Thatcher's 1979 election victory.
European leaders have had mixed reactions to the election win.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that a clear majority was a sight of relief for many European leaders, who had to deal with three years of political logjam in London.
Merkel also warned that it would be "very complicated" to figure out a new relationship by December 2020.
French President Emmanuel Macron warned that Britain risked losing access to the EU's single market if it chose to deregulate its economy.
Early confirmation that Johnson would return to Downing Street came shortly after Labour's Jeremy Corbyn said he was stepping down as party leader after labelling the election "very disappointing."
An early exit poll had already predicted the Conservatives would win a majority as vote counting got underway shortly after polls closed on Thursday evening local time.
The exit poll, which was paid for the BBC, ITV and Sky, asked voters to repeat their vote in secret after leaving their polling station.
The exit poll is usually accurate, according to the BBC. The poll predicted the winning parties' seats exactly right in both 2005 and 2010. It was 14 seats off in the 2015 election and just three seats off in 2017.
Millions of people turned out to vote in freezing winter temperatures and icy rain and queues stretched back for blocks in some constituencies. The lines at polling stations across the UK were unprecedented, with many citizens saying they'd never seen anything like it.
"Big old queues at the polling station this morning," voter Andrew Cleary wrote on Twitter as he waited at his polling station in Balham.
"I’ve been living in Balham, London for 6 years, I have never seen a queue like this at my polling station," other resident Aidan Conway tweeted.
There were also long lines in the marginal seat of Battersea, where lines stretched around the block at some polling stations.
"Queue at polling station in marginal Battersea even bigger now, stretching right 'round the corner," voter Steven Swinford wrote.
The election is the first to be held in December since 1923.
Polling stations across the UK turned festive, with many decorated with lights and Christmas trees.
The #DogsAtPollingStations -- which is almost the UK equivalent to Australia's #DemocracySausage -- were out in full force. Johnson bought along his canine and posed for a photo outside a central London polling station.
Many noted Johnson broke with tradition and didn't vote in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency.
There were also a number of horses photographed outside the polls.
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