NEWS
13/12/2019 11:37 AM IST

The Biggest Moments From UK's Election Night

Labour had a long night of losses. Jeremy Corbyn announced he was stepping down. Jo Swinson lost her seat. Here's all the drama.

It was a night when the tectonic plates of British politics shifted, an election result that few predicted with any degree of confidence. Here’s how the jaw-dropping general election results played out.

This dog’s face

Let’s start our roundup with Rhuaridh, who looks looked like most of us felt.

#YouthQuake

It’s 8pm and #YouthQuake is the number one Twitter trend. There’s a general feeling among may that this is a sign of an imminent Labour victory.

By the seat of his pants

Adding to the Tories’ sense of unease, rumours begin to circulate there was a good chance Boris Johnson could lose his seat.

The Exit Poll

Remember all that stuff earlier about a #YouthQuake and Johnson losing his seat?

Well, turns out that was all a bit of a red herring, as at 10pm the exit poll predicted an absolutely massive Tory majority of 86.

Here’s the Channel 4 News audience reacting with absolute horror.

Now this was only a prediction but, as HuffPost UK explains here, it was likely to be accurate.

And how could such a result happen? David Walliams had a suggestion.

Mark Francois 

Tory MP Mark Francois deserves his own little section. Why? Because he went on live TV and said this: 

Blyth Valley

At about 11pm, the first results began trickling in, one of which was truly remarkable and an ominous omen of things to come for Corbyn.

Blyth Valley, a solidly Labour seat for decades, in their traditional heartland, went Tory.

‘Corbyn was a disaster on the doorstep... I want Momentum gone’

Former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson was furious, summing up the mood of many party supporters who aren’t allied to the Corbyn project. 

“Corbyn was a disaster on the doorstep,” Johnson told pro-Corbyn Momentum founder Jon Lansman on ITV News.

“Everyone knew that he couldn’t lead the working class out of a paper bag. Now Jon’s developed this Momentum group, this party within a party, aiming to keep the purity. The culture of betrayal goes on.”

‘Workington Man’ votes Tory

The pattern was turning into a trend. The Cumbria seat of Workington, held by Labour since 1979, was seen as instructive as to whether the Tories would sweep the north of England.

It came in at the same time as Darlington also fell to the Conservatives and the writing was now on the wall.

Meanwhile, Ken Livingstone piped up, helpfully

The former mayor of London seems keen to stir up the issue of anti-Semitism, for reasons only he knows.

Labour takes Putney

So Labour were making gains in the capital while losing ground in their heartlands – telling a bigger picture about the election and the seismic shift in British politics.

But let’s put the scale of Labour’s losses in perspective

By now, the party was shedding seats that it had held for up to a century and the phrase “bloodbath” was being bandied around.

Za-xit

In other news, Zac Goldsmith, the former Tory London mayoral candidate, lost his seat of Richmond Park to the Lib Dems. Again. 

Corbyn wins his seat – but says he will step down as Labour leader 

By this stage, it was almost inevitable. At about 3.30am, Corbyn announced he would resign as Labour leader – inasmuch as he will “not lead the party in any future general election campaign”. Most of his speech, though, was devoted to blaming the media for Labour’s dire straits.

And the Tories, by now, were rubbing it in...

And Boris Johnson was back in – with an increased majority to boot

The #unseatboris campaign failed spectacularly, though some of his rivals in Uxbridge raised eyebrows.

Jo Swinson out...

The Lib Dem leader lost her seat of East Dunbartonshire, with her decision to back Boris Johnson’s bid for a general election backfiring spectacularly. 

... and Nicola Sturgeon appeared pretty happy about it.

Scotland’s first minister did a *literal victory dance* on air before praising Swinson for her humility in defeat.

Rising Labour star Laura Pidcock ousted

Capped a bruising night for the left of the party, with Pidcock touted as a potential successor to Corbyn.   

And another Corbynite bit the dust 

Former Labour MP Chris Williamson, who was running as an independent after being suspended by the party, was not only defeated – he lost his deposit, too, having only mustered 635 votes in the constituency he once served as its elected member.

Grenfell constituency goes Tory

And in another shock, the Kensington constituency that includes Grenfell Tower swung from Labour to Conservative – seemingly as a result of the Lib Dems splitting the anti-Tory vote.   

And the Tories were *really* rubbing it in now ...

Dennis Skinner loses his seat

The “beast of Bolsover”, Labour’s Dennis Skinner, had held his seat throughout the party’s darkest days: Thatcher, Major, the coalition, Cameron and May. And with Ken Clarke already confirmed as stepping down, Skinner’s status as the father of the House (and longest-serving MP of any gender) seemed secure: he was elected in 1970 and was to celebrate his half-century next year.

But it wasn’t to be. The Tories’ Mark Fletcher snatched the historically working class industrial seat by more than 5,000 votes, cementing a night in which the party’s landslide already seemed so huge as to be surreal.