Britain’s general election has delivered a stunning result that few had anticipated. The Conservative Party, headed by Boris Johnson, the prime minister, has won 364 seats with one left to declare. That easily surpasses the 326 required for an outright majority in Parliament. Mr Johnson will now enjoy a comfortable majority to “get Brexit done”—in other words, to pass the withdrawal agreement that he negotiated with European Union leaders in October.

In truth, the election-night story was not so much that of a Tory surge but of a Labour slump. The Conservatives’ vote share has increased by just one percentage point, while the Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, saw its share slide by eight points. Mr Corbyn, who has said he will not lead Labour in another election, has presided over his party’s worst result since 1935.

Mr Johnson has the insurgent Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, to thank for his victory. First, the Brexit Party stood aside in seats that the Conservatives already held. Secondly, according to The Economist’s analysis of constituency-level results, Labour’s decline was largest in seats where the Brexit Party performed well. In seats where Mr Farage’s faction fielded a candidate, every percentage-point increase in its vote share corresponded to a decrease of 0.7 points in Labour’s share.

Since the EU referendum in June 2016 the Tories have shifted their focus northwards. At the 2015 election the Tories won just 116 seats from outside the south of England; they have now upped that tally to 168 (see interactive map). The source of those victories has been the Conservatives’ championing of the anti-EU vote which has caused increasing numbers of working-class people to vote for them instead of Labour. With voter volatility at a historic high it remains to be seen whether that electorate is a sustainable base for the Mr Johnson’s Tories.

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