Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street for Buckingham Palace where he will seek permission to form the next government during an audience with Queen Elizabeth II at Downing Street on December 13, 2019 in London, England.
Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson promised unity on Friday, shortly after securing a five-year term in office with a stronger-than-expected parliamentary majority.
Speaking outside Downing Street, the newly-elected prime minister said the country would build a new partnership with the EU and called on Britons to move passed the deep divisions of the last few years.
“I urge everyone to find closure and let the healing begin,” he said.
“We are going to unite and level up … bringing together the whole of this incredible United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland together, taking us forward, unleashing the potential of the whole country, delivering opportunity across the entire nation,” he added.
With all the results declared on Friday, the Conservatives secured 365 parliamentary seats — a majority of 80 in the House of Commons.
Johnson’s victory is likely to pave the way for the world’s fifth-largest economy to leave the European Union by the end of next month.
It bookends more than three-and-a-half years of political wrangling after a small but clear majority voted to leave the bloc in June 2016.
At around 3 p.m. London time, sterling traded at $1.3324, up around 1.2%.
Election gamble pays off
During a bitterly-fought campaign, the former London mayor repeatedly encouraged voters to re-elect the Conservatives in order to “get Brexit done.”
He said that only his party would be able to deliver his so-called “oven ready” divorce deal to take the country out of the bloc by Jan. 31.
Unlike his predecessor Theresa May in June 2017, Johnson’s gamble to call a snap vote has now provided him with a strong mandate to try to put an end to the U.K.’s long-running constitutional crisis.
The Conservative Party swept to victory on Thursday, in large part by being able to unite Brexit supporting vote-leave areas in the north of England, the Midlands and Wales.
In contrast, the opposition Labour party is currently projected to receive 203 seats in the House of Commons. That represents the party’s worst parliamentary return in decades.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has since said he will not lead the left-leaning party in future elections, following what he described as a “disappointing night.”
‘No ifs or buts’
At victory celebrations in central London Friday morning, Johnson hailed the pre-Christmas vote as a “historic” achievement for the center-right party, vowing to work “night and day” to repay the trust of voters.
The prime minister said his party would take the country out of the world’s largest trading bloc by the end of next month — “no ifs or buts.”
It was not lost on Johnson’s critics that the U.K. leader had previously used this exact phrase when he promised to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31.