Britain

Boris Johnson thanks new Tory voters for his ‘stonking mandate’

Boris Johnson has thanked voters in Labour heartlands who voted Tory for the first time to give him his general election victory.

His thank you, within hours of winning a Commons majority of 80, came as he delivered a Christmas pledge to heal the divisions over Brexit.

Speaking in Downing Street, he said: "I frankly urge everyone on either side of what, after three and a half years after all an increasingly arid argument, I urge everyone to find closure and to let the healing begin."

And after victories in dozens of Labour strongholds such as Tony Blair's old seat of Sedgefield, Blyth Valley and Dennis Skinner's constituency of Bolsover, he promised to honour his "overwhelming mandate".

Image: The PM is greeted by staff as he arrives back at Downing Street

"All those whose pencils may have wavered over the ballot and who heard the voices of their parents and their grandparents whispering anxiously in their ears, I say thank you for the trust you have placed in us and in me," he said.

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Earlier, although he told Tory supporters his victory gives him a "stonking mandate", Mr Johnson did admit some Labour supporters were lending their votes to the Conservatives.

Mr Johnson is heading to the North today where he will tour former Labour areas who returned Tory MPs – in some cases for the first time.

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But while the general election result was a triumph for the Tories, for Labour it was a disaster and Jeremy Corbyn has announced he will be gone next year.

And amid the party's bitter recriminations, the Labour MP defeated by the Tories in Sedgefield said Mr Corbyn's leadership was a bigger problem than Brexit.

"For @UKLabour leadership to blame Brexit for the result is mendacious nonsense," Phil Wilson tweeted.

"Jeremy Corbyn's leadership was a bigger problem. To say otherwise is delusional.

"The Party's leadership went down like a lead balloon on the doorstep. Labour's leadership needs to take responsibility."

Despite the Tories' crushing of Labour in the election, the PM is already on a collision course over a second independence referendum in Scotland with the Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon.

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