As of Friday morning, the Conservative party had won 364 of Parliament’s 650 seats, clearing the way for Johnson to press ahead with his promise to deliver Brexit. Despite the stunning result, reaction in Britain was mixed, with the hashtag #notmygovernment trending in first place on Twitter in response to the Conservative win. Those who had desperately hoped for a second referendum on Brexit woke to find their dream had been scuppered.
“Rejoice!” Exclaimed the front page of the Daily Mail on Friday morning. “Boris surges to landslide win,” it wrote. On Thursday, the Mail ran a front page telling Brits, “Your vote has never been more vital, today you must back Boris.”
The Daily Mirror, a paper that had urged readers to vote for Labour, splashed “Nightmare before Xmas” across its front page on Friday, highlighting that the election result was Labour’s worst since 1935.
“Labour in meltdown as Johnson seizes majority,” wrote The Guardian, outlining Johnson’s “triumphant” win.
While many of those who were dismayed at the result took to social media to vent their frustration, others began Googling the term: “Move to Scotland."
But around the world, well wishes poured in for the prime minister. “Congratulations my friend @BorisJohnson on your historic victory. This is a great day for the people of Great Britain and for the friendship between us,” tweeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday morning.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also applauded Johnson’s win, tweeting: “Many congratulations to PM @BorisJohnson for his return with a thumping majority. I wish him the best and look forward to working together for closer India-UK ties."
Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2019
President Trump also joined those offering their congratulations, tweeting that he was looking forward to a “massive new trade deal” between the United States and Britain in the future.
“Congratulations, Boris Johnson, on your resounding victory. I look forward to working with you for the friendship and strong cooperation between our nations,” tweeted the spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Germany’s liberal Zeit Online news site argued that the election could prove to be an opportunity. “Boris Johnson can end the insanity” that has held Britain captive over the last years, the news site argued. To do so, however, he needs to change in multiple ways, according to the author. “Johnson needs to stop lying,” Zeit Online wrote.
“Europa bye-bye,” wrote Italy’s La Repubblica. Milan-based newspaper Corriere della Sera wrote that “Europe loses London; this time for real.”
“The real night of Brexit is this night,” the paper commented, referring to Thursday’s election results.
Meanwhile, in Spain, the El Mundo newspaper warned that the election result “will not decrease the tensions triggered by [former Prime Minister David Cameron].”
“Instead, it has opened new divides between generations, between cities and rural areas, between nationalists and globalists, between pro-Europeans and populists, between people showing solidarity and xenophobic groups.”
German far-right Alternative for Germany politician Alice Weidel congratulated Johnson on Twitter, saying: “The British people have clearly decided: It has had enough of the wrangling over Brexit and wants to see the referendum executed.”
Others had a more nuanced take. “It’s no secret that personally I wanted the UK to #remain in the #EU,” wrote Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German parliament and a member of the Christian Democratic Union party. “But the British people have decided & we have to accept their choice: With Johnson’s victory #Brexit has become inevitable. Our goal now has to be to keep relations with the UK as close as possible.”
“Getting Brexit done is now the irrefutable, irresistible, unarguable decision of the British people,” Johnson said as he basked in sweeping success. “With this election, I think we’ve now put an end to all those miserable threats of a second referendum.”