General election 2019 results: SNP predicted to win 55 seats in exit poll landslide as Conservatives tipped for big majority

The SNP have been tipped to win a near-record 55 seats in the UK general election in an exit poll that indicates a startling triumph for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The result north of the Border comes as the Conservatives are tipped to win the party's biggest majority since the third poll win under former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The poll, which was carried out on behalf of the BBC, ITV and Sky News, indicates the Tories under Boris Johnson would win a majority of 86 seats.

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General Election 2019 results LIVE: Latest as results come in across Scotland

The Tories are forecast to win 368 seats under the poll - 42 above the 326 needed for an absolute majority in the House of Commons.

Labour has meanwhile suffered a crippling blow, according to the poll, by dropping to 191 seats.

The result for Labour under leader Jeremy Corbyn would be the party's worst in modern times.

The poll, which surveyed more than 20,000 people at 144 polling stations across the UK, also suggests the Liberal Demcrats under leader Jo Swinson would claim just 13 seats,

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon appears set to be a big winner in the general election

Plaid Cymru are forecast to win three seats and the Greens to retain one seat.

Ms Sturgeon said while the exit poll "suggests a good night" for the SNP, she added that "what it indicates UK wide though is grim".

If the SNP was to win 55 of the 59 Scottish seats up for grabs, it would be the party's second best ever result - and only one fewer MP than they secured in 2015, when they won all but three seats north of the Border.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

It would also be an increase of 20 on the 35 MPs that Ms Sturgeon's party returned in 2017.

The exit poll predictions were published just as voting closed at 10pm on Thursday.

Ms Sturgeon thanked all those who had backed her party at the ballot on Twitter.

It comes at the end of an election campaign which had focused heavily on the key constitutional issues of Brexit and a second Scottish independence referendum.

Boris Johnson on the campaign trail in his own constituency tonight in west London

Ms Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, has already pledged to send a letter requesting Holyrood be given the power to hold a fresh ballot on the issue to the new prime minister before Christmas.

Scotland's justice secretary urged SNP supporters to "keep the heid" after the exit poll was announced.

Humza Yousaf said: "I would be saying to people to keep the heid, a good Scottish phrase.

"It points to a very good night for the SNP and it points to the SNP winning another election, which just strengthens our mandate for another referendum.

"But it's very disheartening to see a potential Conservative majority."

Mr Yousaf said he wanted to see a Section 30 order request sent "as soon as possible" to Westminster, adding: "It's not for any Westminster government or any Tory prime minister to deny Scotland or to choose when Scotland has that referendum."

Mr Johnson's gamble on a snap election looks set to have paid off.

If borne out by the actual results, the Prime Minister will return to Number 10 on Friday with a considerable majority which will, in theory, enable him to drive through his Brexit deal and take the UK out of the European Union next month.

It would represent the largest majority for a Conservative leader since Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

The result will be seen as a triumph for his tightly-controlled election campaign, which was largely gaffe-free until the final week.

It will, however, be a significant set-back for Mr Corbyn, who will have twice led his party to defeat at the polls.

Mr Johnson entered the election without a majority - having just 298 Tory MPs - after some quit the party and he withdrew the whip from others when they rebelled over Brexit.

He has tweeted: "Thank you to everyone across our great country who voted, who volunteered, who stood as candidates. We live in the greatest democracy in the world."

Labour, who had 243 MPs when Parliament was dissolved last month, is forecast to have lost 52 seats.

Polling expert Michael Thrasher said Mr Corbyn would go down as "one of the worst leaders in Labour's history".

Mr Thrasher, from the School of Sociology, Politics & Law at the University of Plymouth, told Sky News "the Conservatives have been heading for a clear majority all day long".

He said: "It really is a remarkable election victory for Boris Johnson, a majority of 86 seats.

"For Labour it really is an appalling election result and possibly its worst performance in any general election since the second world war.

"So Jeremy Corbyn, I'm afraid, will go down as one of the worst leaders in Labour's history."

Home secretary Priti Patel said the Government will move quickly to "get Brexit done" if it wins a majority.

She said: "Importantly, as we have outlined throughout this entire campaign, the focus has been on Brexit.

"You know, we've had gridlock in Parliament, we want to get Brexit done, we have heard the prime minister say this.

"Get it done before Christmas, introduce the legislation and get that moving in parliament."

Ms Patel said the NHS, education, law and order, and a points-based immigration system were other priorities.

She added: "Absolutely moving the country out of that paralysis so we can invest in public services and get the country moving."

Labour, who had 243 MPs when Parliament was dissolved last month, is forecast to have lost 52 seats.

Such a poor result would be the worst for Labour in terms of seats since 1935 and would put extreme pressure on the party's leader to stand down after losing a second General Election in a row.

In a tweet sent as the polls closed, Mr Corbyn thanked activists.

"You're the heart of our party, and you have campaigned tirelessly to win so we can a build a fairer country. I thank you all."

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said the results were "extremely disappointing" and the "appropriate decisions" will be taken on the future of Mr Corbyn's leadership once the results are known.

Speaking to BBC News, Mr McDonnell said: "I think Brexit has dominated, it has dominated everything by the looks of it.

"We thought other issues could cut through and there would be a wider debate, from this evidence there clearly wasn't."

On the future of Mr Corbyn's leadership, Mr McDonnell said: "Let's see the results themselves, as I say, the appropriate decisions will be made and we'll always make the decisions in the best interests of our party."

The pound soared against the dollar and the euro as the exit poll emerged.

A pound was up 1.85 per cent to 1.342 dollars and up 1.09 per cent to 1.202 euros within minutes of the announcement.

Labour candidate for Birmingham Yardley Jess Phillips tweeted: "There are very few words for how heartbroken I am for the community I represent who have been through enough."