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Conservatives Win Landslide in UK Elections: What It Means For Brexit

By: Martin Li

· Global Affairs

On Thursday, Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party won the general election in a landslide victory, giving it 364 out of 650 seats in parliament, the largest Tory majority since Margaret Thatcher. Their primary rival in the election, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, picked up only 203 seats, the party’s worst performance since 1935. The Tory campaign focused on Brexit, touting the motto “Get Brexit Done,” while the Labour Party took a radical stance and focused on other issues such as healthcare. In addition, Scotland overwhelmingly backed the Scottish National Party, which got 48 seats, up from 35 in 2017. Their leader, Nicola Sturgeon, claims that their call for a second Scottish Referendum has been strengthened. Finally, Nigel Farage’s extreme Brexit Party won only 2% of the vote, meaning they will not gain any seats in Parliament.

This election has major implications for Brexit. With such a clear Tory majority, calls for a second referendum on Brexit seem to have dissipated. In addition, as the Conservative party now holds a comfortable 39 seat majority, with the ideological balance of the party having shifted towards the center. Because of the comfortable lead, Johnson won’t have to listen to the radical faction as much and can negotiate a more practical Brexit. Many believe that this will expedite the Brexit process as a few renegade PMs won’t be able to halt negotiations with extreme demands. However, the issue of Scottish independence will come back to the forefront as Brexit seems more likely, and the Scottish people remain loyal to the European Union.
On the international stage, Johnson’s victory seems to have received general applause. Both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted congratulations to the Conservatives, expressing hopes for closer ties in the future. U.S. President Donald Trump also congratulated Johnson, tweeting that “Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT.”

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