AFTER weeks of campaigning and predictions, the UK general election is over and the results are astounding: an overwhelming majority for the Conservative party led by Boris Johnson, and a harrowing defeat for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. The Tories are set to form a majority government with a total of 365 seats — a historic success which the party has not witnessed since Margaret Thatcher won in 1987. With a majority of 80 seats, the Conservative party has made gains in Labour heartlands across northern England and Wales. The election, which saw voters deviate from a focus on traditional concerns, was a vote on Brexit — Mr Johnson’s message of ‘let’s get Brexit done’ clearly resonated far and wide, despite serious doubts over his integrity. As for Labour, its seismic defeat calls for much introspection. Mr Corbyn has announced he won’t be leading the party in a future election — a decision many will welcome, given how divisive a figure he had become in this poll. The party has to reconcile itself to the voters’ decision to reject Mr Corbyn’s style of politics and engage in a rebuilding campaign.
Mr Johnson is now well-placed to fast-track his Brexit promise. With no obstacles ahead, his pledge to leave the EU on Jan 31, 2020, will become a reality as he now has the parliamentary majority to push through the required legislation. While Mr Johnson is clear on the departure, he will soon have to begin negotiating an ambitious set of trade agreements with the EU which will have to be ratified before the post-Brexit transition period ends in just over a year on Dec 31, 2020. Although Brexit fatigue and a lack of clarity on the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU may have prompted many voters to side with the Tories in this election, the debate is far from over; focusing on the tedious technicalities of the legislation that will govern the Britain’s future trade ties is something that Mr Johnson and his party will now have to do.
Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2019