The Conservatives are forecast to win 368 seats, a majority of 86 – their highest since Margaret Thatcher’s third election victory in 1987.
The projected result is a triumph for Mr Johnson and a crushing defeat for Jeremy Corbyn‘s vision of a socialist Britain.
Launching his manifesto last month Mr Johnson promised to open a ‘new chapter’ for the country and the exit poll suggests that voters have welcomed his plans.
Mandate: Boris Johnson has won a mandate for a Tory manifesto which promises to take Britain out of the EU by January 31 and introduce a points-based immigration system
Mr Johnson struck a revised Brexit deal with Brussels earlier this year, removing the much-derided ‘backstop’ from the agreement reached by Theresa May.
However, Mr Johnson could not get it through Parliament before the previous October 31 deadline.
That impasse prompted Mr Johnson to demand the general election, which Mr Corbyn eventually agreed to.
Every Tory candidate backed the deal, Mr Johnson said, meaning that the withdrawal agreement bill should now have a more comfortable passage through Parliament.
That means Mr Johnson should be able to met his promise of leaving the European Union by January 31, setting the stage for further trade talks with Brussels.
Once Britain has left the EU, the Tory government plans to introduce an ‘Australian-style’ points-based system to manage immigration.
Mr Johnson repeatedly said during the campaign that finishing Brexit would allow the government to turn its attention to the ‘priorities of the British people’.
‘Get Brexit done and we can focus our hearts and our minds on the priorities of the British people because it is this One Nation Tory party that is already embarked on the biggest cash boost for the NHS for a generation,’ the Prime Minister said at the manifesto launch in Telford.
New deal: Mr Johnson struck a revised Brexit deal with Brussels earlier this year, removing the much-derided ‘backstop’ from the agreement reached by Theresa May
Aside from Brexit, the Tories’ key manifesto pledges include a cash increase for the NHS of £33billion a year by 2023/24 compared to current budgets.
Mr Johnson also wants to recruit, train and retain 50,000 nurses and make 50million more GP appointments available.
Health secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC the extra 50,000 nurses would be brought in over the Parliament through ‘a combination of training and extra university places, also nurse apprenticeships which allow people to train as they work, and there will be some recruitment from overseas with our new NHS visa.’
In addition, the PM promised to scrap hospital parking charges for disabled drivers and seriously ill patients.
The NHS was a central issue in the campaign as Labour claimed that Mr Johnson was planning to offer up the health service to US trade negotiators.
The Tories repeatedly denied Mr Corbyn’s accusations and it appears that the Labour message failed to persuade the electorate.
Further Conservative promises on health included:
- Extending the Cancer Drugs Fund into an Innovative Medicines Fund.
- Improved ‘health tourism’ enforcement.
- Introduction of an NHS Visa so that applications are cheaper and dealt with quicker for health workers who want to come to the UK.
- An extra £1bn a year for social care services.
- NHS staff on night shifts, disabled and terminally ill patients and their families to be exempt from hospital car parking charges.
Health: Aside from Brexit, the Tories’ key manifesto pledges include a cash increase for the NHS of £33billion a year by 2023/24 compared to current budgets
The cost of Boris Johnson’s general election manifesto pledges
Day-to-day spending increases
NHS: Recruiting 50,000 extra nurses, training them and keeping them. Cost: £759m
NHS: Fifty million more GP appointments. Cost: £399m
Hospital car parking: Making car parking free for certain groups of people. Cost: £93m
Justice: Improved community sentencing scheme. Cost: £77m
Overall cost of increased day-to-day spending: £1.5bn
Tax: Increasing the threshold at which people make National Insurance contributions to £9,500 in April 2020. Cost: £2.2bn
Tax: Increasing the threshold at which employers make National Insurance contributions from £3,000 to £4,000. Cost: £470m
Business rates: Further extension of business rates discounts. Cost: £320m
Overall cost of tax cuts: £3.2bn
Increased tax revenue
Corporation tax: Keeping the rate at 19 per cent instead of dropping it to 17 per cent. Will generate: £3bn
Health: Extending the health immigration surcharge to EU citizens after Brexit. Will generate: £320m
Overall increase in tax revenue: £3.3bn
Transport: Reverse some of the cuts to the rail network resulting from the 1960s Beeching report. Cost: £500m
Transport: A fund to tackle potholes. Cost: £500m
Housing: A new system of Home Upgrade Grants to make buildings more energy efficient. Cost: £150m
Flooding: A new flood defence programme to make the nation more resilient. Cost: £680m
Overall capital spending cost: £3.3bn
TAX AND SPENDING
Financial pledges in the Conservative manifesto were more modest than Labour’s promises of a spending spree and widespread nationalisation.
In a bid to show he was not in the pocket of business, Mr Johnson shelved a planned corporation tax cut during the campaign, promising to keep the rate at 19 per cent.
Mr Johnson also wants to raise the threshold at which people start making National Insurance contributions to £9,500 in April 2020, with an ‘ultimate ambition’ to raise it to £12,500.
The Tory manifesto also promised a ‘triple lock’ of no increases on income tax, National Insurance or VAT.
The employment allowance will also be increased from £3,000 to £4,000, the manifesto says.
The Tory manifesto contained a pledge to spend £750million to start delivery of the government’s promised 20,000 additional police officers.
There is also a promise of initial funding towards a £2.5billion commitment to create an additional 10,000 prison places.
Officers could also be given more tasers and body-worn cameras to protect them.
Other key manifesto pledges include:
- A £14billion package so that every secondary school receives £5,000 per pupil by 2020/21 and every primary school gets £4,000 per pupil by 2021/22.
- Supplying £700million in extra funding to boost help for children with special educational needs.
- Increasing starting teacher salaries to £30,000.
- An overall package of funding worth £100billion to improve the UK’s roads and rail network.
- Spending £500million a year on a ‘Potholes Fund’.
- Spend £500million to reverse some of the cuts to the UK’s rail network resulting from the 1960s Beeching report.
- Introduction of a new flood defence programme.
- Keep the existing pensions triple lock so that it continues to rise in line with either wages, inflation or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest.
- A new £1bn fund for wraparound childcare available both after school and outside of term time.
- Continue to make Winter Fuel Payments for pensioners and keep older person’s bus pass.
- Pressure the BBC to keep free TV licences for over-75s.
Forecast: The exit poll shows the Conservatives on course for a large majority, their largest since 1987
Projection: The Conservatives are set to improve on their 2017 vote share while Labour’s slumps as voters reject Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist vision for Britain
A pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Introduce a ban on exporting plastic waste to third world countries. to prevent it being dumped in the ocean.
Investing £6.3billion to improve the energy efficiency of 2.2million disadvantaged homes.
Spending £3.8billion to improve insulation in two million social homes to reduce energy bills.
Investing another £2.5billion in Home Upgrade Grants so that people can replace boilers and improve insulation.
Mr Johnson previously confirmed that he wants to bring his Withdrawal Agreement Bill back to Parliament before Christmas if he wins the election.
Although the bill cannot complete its passage through Parliament before the festive break, it is a clear signal of intent to get it through in time for Britain to leave the EU by the January 31 deadline.
Following the election, the new House of Commons is due to sit for the first time on Tuesday, December 17.
The first two days are likely to be taken up with the swearing in of the new MPs, potentially with the State Opening and the Queen’s Speech on the Thursday.
That could mean MPs sitting the following Monday – the start of Christmas week – to allow the WAB to be formally introduced, although it is not clear whether there could be any further progress before the holiday.