Election results 2019: Johnson hails 'historic' Conservative victory
Boris Johnson has said the forecast general election result would deliver a "powerful new mandate" to a "One Nation Conservative government".
Speaking after being re-elected as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, he said it is an "historic election".
Former rebel Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames said it could build a new Conservative majority "for a generation".
But Tory defector Heidi Allen said it meant a "hard-right" government.
The Conservatives have won a series of victories in Labour heartlands in the north of England and Wales in early results.
A BBC forecast puts the Conservatives on 364 seats.
Mr Johnson said he did not want to "tempt fate", but added: "It does look as though this One Nation Conservative government has been given a powerful new mandate, to get Brexit done, unite this country and take it forward."
He said he thought it has "turned out to be an 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".
That work would start "tomorrow" he said, before correcting himself and saying "today".
The Conservatives' first gain was in Blyth Valley in Northumberland, held by Labour since 1950.
It was one of several victories in places which backed Brexit in the 2016 referendum, which also included Sedgefield, the constituency of former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Conservative MP Mark Francois told the BBC the party can deliver for voters in these Leave-supporting areas, many of which have high levels of poverty.
"They put their trust in the prime minister, we must be worthy of that trust," he said.
"In 1989 Russia's Berlin wall came down, in 2019 Labour's red wall came down. The Labour Party presented a Marxist option and the British people resoundingly defeated that."
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Leave.EU co-founder Arron Banks said the election was "job done" for Brexiteers, who had "united the right".
"This has always been about pressure. What we've tried to do is return the Conservative Party to its core roots which I think we have done," he said.
Sir Nicholas Soames, who temporarily lost the Tory whip for rebelling over Brexit, before standing down as an MP, said it was a "political watershed" that showed the popularity of "one-nation Conservatism".
"This could build a new Conservative majority across Britain for a generation," he said.
But Heidi Allen, a former Tory MP who quit the party over Brexit, said: "The Tory party is a completely different party from the one I joined."
She said the country was in a "very bad place for democracy" with a "hard-right government in control and an official opposition that has failed to do its job".