Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has won Britain’s crunch election and gained a solid majority as voters backed his pledge to “get Brexit done.”
The Prime Minister’s commanding win in the early hours of Friday morning saw his Conservatives gain a majority of more than 70.
Johnson fought his campaign on the controversial issue of whether Britain should leave the EU — which has split the country and been a drag on the pound and markets since the referendum in 2016.
But the size of the win and the increased certainty that the country will now depart the EU early next year sent the pound soaring to a 19-month high versus the dollar. It remained up 2% at $1.346 for most of the night.
Read: Here’s everything investors need to know ahead of Britain’s election
Markets such as the benchmark FTSE 100 Index UKX, +0.79% and FTSE All-Share index ASX, +0.76% are also likely to open strongly despite the challenges ahead.
These include striking new international trade deals, maintaining London’s position as a leading financial capital and an expected attempt by Scotland to vote to leave the United Kingdom.
Johnson now has a mandate to ratify the Brexit deal he struck with the EU and the U.K. could be set to leave on January 31, which is 10 months later than initially planned.
In a speech Johnson delivered after holding on to his own seat he said the Government has been given a “powerful new mandate to get Brexit done”.
“At this stage it does look as though this one-nation Conservative government has been given a powerful new mandate, to get Brexit done and not just to get Brexit done but to unite this country and to take it forward,” Johnson said.
“I think this will turn out to be a historic election that gives us now, in this new government, the chance to respect the democratic will of the British people.
“To change this country for the better and to unleash the potential of the entire people of this country.”
Leader of the opposition Labour party Jeremy Corbyn admitted it was a “very disappointing” night for the Labour party and said he would not lead the party in any future election campaign.
In a speech he attacked the media and said: “Obviously it is a very disappointing night for the party. But I want to say this — in the election campaign we put forward a manifesto of hope.
“However, Brexit has so polarized debate it has overridden so much of normal political debate.”
Corbyn added he would lead the party through a process of reflection on the results and on future policies.
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson suffered the humiliation of losing her seat in Scottish constituency Dunbartonshire East in a blow for the party.
The pound jumped to $1.348 from $1.317 in the wake of the exit poll on Thursday night – significantly higher than $1.29 at the beginning of the month, as investors grew more confident of a Johnson win.
But sterling GBPUSD, +2.1650% GBPEUR, +1.8688% has been up and down in recent weeks as investors have reacted to the latest election polls.
Read: The Pound Is Undervalued and Looks Set to Rally After the U.K. Election
The pound dropped at the end of November after two election polls showed that Johnson’s lead had narrowed, demonstrating investors’ fear at the prospect of a Labour government.
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