Conservatives romp to victory as Corbyn quits
PUBLISHED: 06:26 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 06:26 13 December 2019
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Voters in Norfolk and Waveney have backed Boris Johnson's Conservatives in a crushing election for Labour.
The Tories are on course for a huge majority in the House of Commons after a miserable night for Jeremy Corbyn who announced he would quit as Labour's leader.
In Norwich South Labour's Clive Lewis did hold his seat but with a slightly reduced majority.
But in North Norfolk the Conservative Duncan Baker snatched the seat from the Liberal Democrats after Sir Norman Lamb decided not to stand in the seat he had held since 2001.
In 2017 Sir Norman won with a majority of 3,500 but Mr Baker overturned this with a whopping 14,435 vote victory.
And in North West Norfolk James Wild will take over as the Tory MP from Sir Henry Bellingham and Jerome Mayhew is the new Conservative in Broadland. The story of the night across the other seats in Norfolk and Waveney was increased majorities for all the Tory incumbents.
Headlines from across the country included:
- Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson lost her seat and Ed Davey and Baroness Sal Brinton will become the joint acting leaders
- Tory big beasts Iain Duncan Smith and Dominic Raab, whose seats were under threat, hung on
- The SNP regained seats in Scotland
Mr Johnson said: "It does look as though this One Nation Conservative government has been given a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done.
"Above all I want to thank the people of this country for turning out to vote in a December election that we didn't want to call but which I think has turned 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."
Mr Lewis, who refused to be drawn on whether he would stand for leadership, said: "My word to the Conservative government is there is a weight of responsibility on you. After 10 years of austerity the people of this country and this city are hurting.
"They may well have the victory but the people of this country deserve a government that will act with honour and integrity and respect our democracy."
Returning South West Norfolk MP and secretary of state for international trade, Liz Truss, welcomed the Tory gains and said another Conservative in Norfolk was good news for the region.
"It's very encouraging. I'm really pleased that we have won in North Norfolk," she said. "More Conservative MPs in Norfolk is great news. It means we can push hard for things like dualling the A47.
"It is terrific to end this uncertainty and period of hung parliament and to be on course to having a majority government."
A solemn Mr Corbyn addressed his count after being returned in Islington North and confirmed he would step aside as leader.
"I want to also make it clear that I will not lead the party in any future general election campaign," he said.
"I will discuss with our party to ensure there is a process now of reflection on this result and on the policies that the party will take going forward.
"And I will lead the party during that period to ensure that discussion takes place and we move on into the future."
Mr Corbyn defended putting forward a "manifesto of hope" that would help wrong the injustices and inequalities gripping the nation and tackle the climate crisis.
After losing her seat in East Dunbartonshire Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said: "Let me say now, for millions of people in our country these results will bring dread and dismay and people are looking for hope.
"I still believe that we as a country can be warm and generous, inclusive and open, and by working together with our nearest neighbours we can achieve so much more.
"Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for these values that guide our liberal movement. Openness, fairness, inclusivity. We will stand up for hope."
Sir Keir Starmer, who is likely to stand for Labour leader and would look to bring the party back to the centre ground, said it was time to rebuild.
"My heart goes out to the millions who needed change in this election having already suffered under 10 years of the Tories," he said.
"This is their loss. They won't get the change they so desperately need.
"Now we as a movement, as a whole movement, need to reflect on this result and understand it together, but we also have a duty to rebuild, starting now."