UK election results 2019: Boris Johnson storms to victory

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5:19 p.m. ET, December 12, 2019

The poll suggests a historic loss for Labour

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn appears on the BBC's Breakfast from Bolton show in Bolton, England on December 10. Joe Giddens/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn appears on the BBC's Breakfast from Bolton show in Bolton, England on December 10. Joe Giddens/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party has sunk to one of its worst ever election results, according to the exit poll. It would be the best result for the Conservatives since Margaret Thatcher's 1987 win.

The exit poll is based on a survey voters across 144 constituencies on election day, carried out jointly by the BBC, Sky News and ITV News. It featured 22,790 interviews.

Again, it is only a projection, and a lot can change before the night is up.

5:16 p.m. ET, December 12, 2019

Pound shoots up as investors cheer the exit polls

The British pound shot up 2% against the dollar immediately after the exit polls were published. The pound was trading at $1.35, its highest level this year.

The sharp move indicates investors welcome the predicted result. A large Conservative majority would bring a resolution to the Brexit uncertainty, which has paralysed the country for the past three and half years.

5:13 p.m. ET, December 12, 2019

Conservatives projected to win 368 seats

The BBC exit poll results are projected on the outside of the BBC building in London, showing Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party winning the election with 368 seats. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images
The BBC exit poll results are projected on the outside of the BBC building in London, showing Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party winning the election with 368 seats. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Here’s the exact seat numbers from the exit poll, which predicts a huge Conservative win. 326 seats are needed for an outright majority in Parliament, which has 650 seats.

Conservatives: 368 (+50 on the 2017 election)

Labour: 191 (-71)

SNP: 55 (+20)

Liberal Democrats: 13 (+1)

Plaid Cmyru: 3 (-1)

A handful of smaller parties have also been projected to pick up seats.

5:08 p.m. ET, December 12, 2019

BREAKING: Boris Johnson’s Conservatives on course for huge victory, exit poll projects

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to supporters at the Copper Box Arena in London on Wednesday. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to supporters at the Copper Box Arena in London on Wednesday. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is on course for a huge majority in Parliament, according to an exit poll from the UK’s three main broadcasters. 

The projections will be a big disappointment for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party and suggests Johnson will be able to pass his Brexit deal comfortably.

The exit poll is usually fairly accurate but a lot can still change as the night progresses and actual results begin to come through. 

4:27 p.m. ET, December 12, 2019

What is the exit poll -- and can you trust it?

The first big moment of drama tonight comes in just over half an hour, when the exit poll is announced.

It's a major endeavor paid for by the UK's three main broadcasters -- the BBC, ITV and Sky -- which asks voters to repeat their vote, in secret, after leaving their local polling station.

It's usually accurate. The exit poll predicted the winning parties’ seats totally exactly right in both 2005 and 2010, it was 14 seats off in 2015, and just three off in 2017.

The poll also usually provides a shock that pundits and regular opinion polls hadn’t seen coming. That was the case in both 2015 and 2017, when the exit poll stunned politicians and voters alike by predicting a comfortable Tory win and a hung Parliament respectively.

Its findings are kept tightly guarded until 10 p.m. when polls close.

The poll's accuracy is exactly the reason for its secrecy. Having live data on how an election is going is sensitive for all sorts of reasons: it could be used to make money, it could be used to interfere with the democratic process. That's why the location and identity of the political scientists working on it is kept secret.

4:00 p.m. ET, December 12, 2019

Dogs, cats and dreary weather as the clock ticks towards 10

The hashtag #dogsatpollingstations is a staple of UK elections -- and 2019 has been no exception. Even cats got their own hashtag today.

Meanwhile it's still raining, ahem, cats and dogs across large parts of the UK. With just a little over an hour until polls close at 10 p.m. (5 pm ET) voters will need to brave the elements if they want to cast their ballot in time.

2:08 p.m. ET, December 12, 2019

Post-work queues at polling stations

As voters head home after work, many are posting photos on social media of long queues outside polling stations.

The weather really is as dark, cold and miserable as it looks in the pictures. Regardless, many voters say they've never seen election queues quite like these.

1:14 p.m. ET, December 12, 2019

What's on the agenda over the next few hours

Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

There's a little under five hours to go until polling booths close across the UK.

Here's what to expect over the next few hours:

10 p.m. local (5.pm. ET):

  • Voting closes and exit poll announced. The exit poll will be the first indication of how the election has panned out. It involves thousands of interviews with voters outside polling booths after they've cast their ballots.
  • First constituency results. Around this time, the first results from constituencies will be announced -- usually the seats of Houghton & Sunderland South, and Newcastle upon Tyne Central. It will be a few hours before results from other constituencies start to trickle in.

3 a.m. to 6 a.m. (10 p.m to 1 a.m. ET):

  • Results flood in: This is when we're likely to see results from the majority of constituencies.

When will the election be called? There are 650 seats across the UK, and a party needs 326 seats to have a majority. So if a party reaches that magic number, it'll be declared the winner.

And if no single party wins 326 seats? We would be in hung parliament territory. In this case, the party with the largest number of seats will usually make the first attempt to strike a coalition agreement or some other kind of deal with one of the smaller parties.

12:03 p.m. ET, December 12, 2019

Here's a fun fact for English football fans

This is the UK's first general election where Chelsea are not top of the Premier League table, since 2001.

Take from that what you will.