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Johnson on the campaign trail. Photo: Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson exceeded all expectations in Thursday's U.K. general election, and his landslide victory makes the U.K. all but certain to exit the European Union early next year.

Driving the news: With 649 out of 650 constituencies reporting, the Conservatives won 364 seats, securing the biggest Conservative majority since Margaret Thatcher's 1987 victory. It's an utter disaster for the opposition Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who has announced he will step down after a "period of reflection."

By the numbers so far (with the change from 2017's results):

  • Conservatives: 364 seats (+47)
  • Labour: 203 (-59)
  • Scottish National Party (SNP): 48 (+13)
  • Liberal Democrats: 11 (-1)
  • Brexit: 0 (0)

Why it matters: After years of political gridlock, this election has ended the debate over whether the U.K. will be leaving the EU while reshaping the U.K.'s political map.

  • This result is a massive vindication for Johnson — long mocked and little trusted, but now set to steer the U.K. through what should be a crucial five years for the country.
  • Labour is now entering into a power struggle, with Corbyn's allies intent on keeping control of the party within their hard-left flank. The party membership is on their side, but the national electorate clearly wasn't.
  • This was also a collapse for the Liberal Democrats, which campaigned hard on stopping Brexit. In the end, party leader Jo Swinson couldn't win her own seat.

How he did it: Johnson was successful on three closely connected fronts:

  1. Centering the election around Brexit and his oft-repeated message: "Get Brexit done."
  2. Uniting the "Leave" (anti-Brexit) vote behind him, while the "Remain" vote was split.
  3. Flipping long-held Labour seats, particularly in the north of England, where most voters backed "Leave" in 2016.

What to watch: The other big winner last night was the pro-independence Scottish National Party, which took 48 of Scotland's 59 seats.

  • The SNP wants another independence referendum. While Scotland voted to remain in the U.K. in 2014, it also voted overwhelmingly against Brexit — leading to speculation the result would be different this time.
  • Johnson is opposed to the idea of a second referendum.

Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).

4 hours ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspended the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, undersecretary for political affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. chargés d'affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and nonessential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten the embassy's ability to assist Americans.