British Post-Election Analysis and Opinion Blog

Boris Johnson promises a “people’s government”. Jeremy Corbyn will resign.

Downing Street London England
10 Downing Street, the residence of the British prime minister, in London, England, November 28, 2016 (Shutterstock/Dominika Zarzycka)
  • Boris Johnson has promised to lead a “people’s government” after winning the Conservatives’ biggest parliamentary majority since 1987.
  • Jeremy Corbyn has announced he will resign after leading Labour into its worst election since 1935.
  • Scotland’s National Party has won most seats in the region and is demanding a second independence referendum.


326 seats needed for a majority


  • Johnson won on the back of a working-class revolt with many constituencies in Labour’s “red well”, stretching from north Wales to North East England, voting Conservative for the first time in decades — or ever.
  • The Conservatives also benefited from Labour and the Liberal Democrats splitting the anti-Brexit vote in more affluent southern seats.
  • The repudiation of Corbyn’s far-left economic and foreign policy program is hard to overstate. The party is even smaller than it was during the “wilderness” years of 1979–97.
  • Scottish nationalists were hoping for more than fifty seats, but the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats defended ten between them, in some cases winning by only a few thousand votes. Labour, which dominated Scottish politics as recently as 2010, has one seat left in the region. There is another disappointment for the SNP: with a Conservative majority, they are unlikely to get a second independence referendum.
  • Significant swing away from the hardline nationalist Sinn Féin and hardline unionist DUP toward the non-sectarian Alliance Party and soft Irish nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party. Support for unification with Ireland is rising in a province that voted 56-44 percent to remain in the EU in 2016.