Johnson's gamble pays off but challenges lie ahead

Laura Kuenssberg
Political editor
@bbclaurakon Twitter

  • Published
Boris JohnsonImage source, European Photopress Agency

The same prime minister. But a new map.

A victory bigger than the Tories, haunted by 2017, had dreamt of. As the hours ticked by, red flipped to blue, familiar faces forced out of their seats.

Boris Johnson gambled that he could win an election with support from towns and communities where voting Conservative might almost have seemed a sin.

And he won.

The Conservatives' majority will have an almost immediate effect on the country - unless something strange happens we will leave the European Union next month - because behind him on the green benches will be new Tory MPs who will vote through his Brexit bill, his position strong enough to subdue any opposition.

There may be years of arguments about the nature of the long-term relationship but we will no longer be part of the bloc we've been entwined in for four decades. But Brexit, at least part one - to use his slogan - will be done.

Beyond that, the final tally, the scale of the Tories' majority may shape Mr Johnson's ability to reform.

He'll face different opponents - that much is clear.

Jeremy Corbyn's departure is certain, only the timing to be decided, but Labour's future direction is already the subject of bitter dispute. The loss a mixture - a lack of leadership, and the party's torture over Brexit.

But accounting for the defeat and making a plan for change is likely to involve months of recrimination.

The Lib Dems have suffered disappointment too - losing their own leader, along with the DUP's Nigel Dodds being ousted. This election has also seen a massive change in the political cast.

But there's nothing straightforward about what faces Mr Johnson, even with the kind of majority this country hasn't seen for years.

There are wide differences between town and city, Scotland and England, the political generations too.

The public has just granted Mr Johnson an immense amount of political power.

Given what's ahead it's a currency he will need to spend, and spend well.

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