Belfast Telegraph

General Election 2019

Suzanne Breen: If true, General Election exit poll disastrous for DUP

DUP leader Arlene Foster arrives at a polling station in Enniskillen, in Northern Ireland, to cast her vote in the 2019 General Election. (Brian Lawless/PA)
DUP leader Arlene Foster arrives at a polling station in Enniskillen, in Northern Ireland, to cast her vote in the 2019 General Election. (Brian Lawless/PA)

The exit poll tonight suggesting a 86-seat Tory majority in the House of Commons is disastrous for the DUP if it’s true.

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Such a comfortable majority would give the party zero influence to stop Boris Johnson’s ‘Brexit betrayal’. The DUP's only hope of stopping the deal was if it held the balance of power in a hung Parliament.

There is no reason for Johnson to go back to Brussels and seek to renegotiate a new deal if this forecast is right. He will sail on with the one he has.

It doesn’t matter how the DUP fares in Northern Ireland constituencies. Even if it holds onto all its 10 seats and wins North Down, the days of wielding the levers of power at Westminster are over.

There will be no role for the SDLP even if Claire Hanna and Colum Eastwood are elected.

Of course the forecast comes with a heavy health warning but, if it materialises, it represents a stunning success for the Tory leader especially seeing he made so many gaffes during the election campaign.

The electorate has been focused first and foremost on Brexit and not on the NHS as Labour hoped.

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The projected results fully vindicate Johnson’s decision to go to the polls.

It would be Labour’s worst loss since 1935. While senior party sources didn’t expect to win the election, they didn’t countenance defeat on this scale.

Jeremy Corbyn’s days as Labour leader are numbered. An announcement that he’s resigning could be hours away.

We will have a clearer picture as the individual constituency results come in but the poll suggests Tory gains in unlikely areas.

That would suggest that voters wants Brexit done and are not harking for a second referendum.

If so, the last Parliament was totally out of touch with public sentiment.

The poll has the Tories on 368 seats with Labour on 191 and the Lib Dems on just 13 which is a terrible indictment of the strategy of party leader Jo Swinson.

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