Cheers and jeers from UK press after Johnson victory
It was a night of exquisite highs and demoralising lows for Britain’s partisan press after Thursday’s election handed Prime Minister Boris Johnson a clear mandate to follow through with Brexit.
“Rejoice!” the Daily Mail told its readers, calling Johnson’s election performance a “sensation”.
The right-wing Daily Express, which has been one of the most fervent supporters of Britain’s split from the European Union, called the main opposition Labour party’s performance “humiliating”.
“Boris has done it!” it cheered.
Early results put Johnson’s Conservative party on course for its best performance since the heyday of late Tory icon Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
The mood could have hardly been more different in the left corner of the UK press, which has backed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn throughout his difficult campaign.
“Nightmare before Xmas,” the Daily Mirror said in huge letters on its front page.
“Big win,” it added in tiny letters under a picture of Johnson, who took over from Theresa May as Conservative party leader and prime minister in July.
Johnson’s campaign was built around a simple vow to “get Brexit done” — a message that appeared to resonate with voters demoralised by years of arguments over Europe and Britain’s place in the world.
But Johnson is a polarising figure and some on the UK left held out hope that voters would confound pollsters and hand the opposition an unexpected win.
The pro-European Guardian newspaper called the outcome a “shock”.
“It is a triumph where the margin of victory makes it a Herculean task to reverse it over a single parliament,” the leftist New Statesman magazine wrote.
But the Financial Times noted that Johnson’s whopping majority meant that he was no longer dependent on support from the most anti-European lawmakers in his party.
“Some in Downing Street believe Mr Johnson will use his clear victory to sideline hardcore Tory Eurosceptics and push for a closer economic partnership with the EU to protect manufacturing jobs,” the Financial Times said.