Clive Bull 1am - 4am
General Election 2019: exit poll predicts significant Conservative majority
13 December 2019, 02:22
The Conservatives are set to remain in power after millions cast their votes in the General Election, the exit poll released at 10pm shows.
Announced after millions of people cast their votes in the most important general election in a decade, the snap election poll offers the first major indication of how the country has voted.
As the polls closed at 10pm, the snap poll showed a Tory majority for Boris Johnson's government of 368.
The exit poll suggests the Conservatives would win 368 seats, 42 above the 326 needed for an absolute majority in the House of Commons.
Labour is predicted to win 191 seats, the Scottish National Party 55, Liberal Democrats 13, the Brexit Party none, Plaid Cymru three and Greens one.
This would give the Tories a majority of 86.
If the results play out as predicted it would give Mr Johnson the backing he needs to drive through his Brexit deal and take the UK out of the European Union next month.
After the exit poll was announced, Boris Johnson posted on Twitter: "Thank you to everyone across our great country who voted, who volunteered, who stood as candidates. We live in the greatest democracy in the world."
Exit polls are used to predict the outcome of the general election, and in recent years have been very accurate.
In 2017 the poll correctly predicted there would be a hung parliament. It even estimated that the Conservatives would take 314 seats - three fewer than the 317 the party ended up gaining.
But in 2015 the exit poll failed to call a majority for the Conservatives and, instead, it incorrectly predicted a hung parliament.
In order to gather data for the exit poll, opinion research specialists conduct tens of thousands of interviews at 144 out of around 50,000 polling stations across the country throughout the day on 12 December.
Statistical sampling methods are used to pick which voters to interview.
As voters leave polling stations, they are given a mock ballot paper and asked to complete it just as they have done inside the voting booth.
Based on the findings that have been collected, analysts and polling experts then come up with a statistical model to make nationwide predictions on which way the vote will swing.
A poll carried out only days before votes are counted suggests the Conservatives will win the General Election - but a quarter of the electorate have said they could still change their minds.
A final poll for the London Evening Standard newspaper prior to polls opening put Boris Johnson's Tories 11 points ahead of Labour.
It had the Tories on 44% and Labour on 33%, while the Liberal Democrats, according to the poll results, were on course to secure 12% of the vote.
The data showed the Green Party would secure 3% of all votes, Nigel Farage's Brexit Party 2% and other parties would mop up the remaining 6% of the vote share.
On 10 December, a final major YouGov poll prior to the voting showed Boris Johnson was set to win with a majority of just 28 seats.