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Sterling hits 2.5-year high as Johnson wins large majority in UK elections

The U.K. Conservative Party won their largest majority since 1987 in the Dec. 12 snap election, paving the way for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to get his Brexit deal ratified in Parliament and lead the U.K. out of the EU on Jan. 31, 2020.

Johnson's victory confirms polls suggesting he was headed for a majority in the 650-seat Parliament, though his lead over Labour was seen narrowing in the run-up to the election day.

Sky News, BBC News and Bloomberg put the number of seats won by the Tories at 365, with all seats declared. Exit polls suggested Johnson's party would win 368 seats, marking the best Tory performance in an election since Margaret Thatcher's 1987 victory, compared to 298 before the elections.

During the election campaign, Johnson promised to get "Get Brexit Done" and secure a trade agreement with the EU by the end of 2020.

Sterling surge

Sterling was trading 2% higher against the U.S. dollar as of 2:45 a.m. ET, having previously gained 2.7%, the largest intraday rise since April 2017.

The Labour Party was trailing at 203 seats, compared to 243 seats before the elections, according to Sky News and BBC. Jeremy Corbyn said he will step down as Labour Party leader, after his second EU referendum pledge did not seem to pay off.

Labour lost some of their long-held constituencies, such as Darlington, Sedgefield and Workington, to the Conservatives, BBC News reported. Seats in Bishop Auckland and Blyth Valley, which have traditionally gone for Labour, and in Redcar and Vale of Clwyd, which the Tories have not had for 100 years or more, were also claimed by the Conservatives, BBC News and Bloomberg News reported.

The Tories, however, lost Putney, in southwest London, to Labour, BBC News reported.

Swinson resigns

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson resigned after losing her seat in East Dunbartonshire to the Scottish National Party, which won 48 seats.

Beyond Brexit, the U.K. must agree the terms of their future trading relationship with the EU after the transition period ends in December 2020.

While Brexit is almost certain, there is still a risk of a hard Brexit at the end of 2020 should the U.K. and EU fail to reach agreement on their future relationship, assuming the transition period is not extended, Kallum Pickering, senior economist at Berenberg, wrote Dec. 11.

Johnson became prime minister in July following the resignation of Theresa May, who failed three times to get her Brexit deal through Parliament. In October, Johnson called for a snap election to break the Brexit deadlock, as the EU moved the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline to Jan. 31, 2020. He vowed to get Brexit done in January if he wins a majority in the elections.

The U.K. House of Commons in October approved on second reading the revised Withdrawal Agreement Bill negotiated by Johnson. That was the first time that Parliament has voted in favor of a Brexit deal since a referendum to leave the EU in June 2016.