General elections were held in the United Kingdom on December 12, 2019. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives gained a majority of 365 out of 650 seats in the House of Commons. Labour, led by Jeremy Corbyn, fell from 262 to 202 seats. The Atlantic Sentinel had endorsed the Liberal Democrats, who won eleven seats.
Britain’s Liberal Democrats were polling as high as 20 percent in September, when it seemed just possible they might beat Labour into third place. The projection now is they will end up with 11 percent support in the election on Thursday, up from 7-8 percent in the last two elections but still a far cry from the 22-23 percent Charles Kennedy and Nick Clegg won in 2005 and 2010.
Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat leader, even lost her seat in Dunbartonshire East to the Scottish nationalists by a margin of 149 votes. It means her party will need to find a fourth new leader in five years.
Britain’s Conservative Party learned the lesson of the 2017 election, when then-Prime Minister Theresa May lost her majority on the back of some rather limp campaigning.
This year, under the more charismatic, if perhaps less reliable, Boris Johnson, the Conservatives have been in an optimistic mood, emphasizing hoped-for possibilities of economic, political and social renewal after Brexit.
The mantra of their campaign was to “get Brexit done” after three years of back-and-forth negotiations with the EU. The calculation was that this would appeal to working-class Labour voters in constituences that want to leave the EU. The exit poll released by the three major broadcasters after polling places closed on Thursday night appears to bear this out. Read more “Conservatives Learned the Lesson of the 2017 Election”
Boris Johnson, who once described himself as a liberal, has made common cause with the reactionaries in his party to take power; forced out 21 principled moderates who opposed his Brexit policy, including ten former cabinet ministers, two former chancellors and one former deputy prime minister; and unlawfully suspended Parliament in an attempt to prevent debate on his Brexit deal, which, for all his bluster, is essentially the deal the EU offered two years ago.
When it was revealed last week that the British government had not ruled out giving American pharmaceutical companies more generous patent rights under a post-Brexit trade agreement with the United States, the opposition Labour Party was up in arms, accusing the ruling Conservatives of putting the National Health Service (NHS) “up for sale”.
The Conservatives rushed to deny it.
“The NHS is not on the table,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock. “We are absolutely resolved that there will be no sale of the NHS, no privatization,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The episode was emblematic of the British health care debate: Labour mischaracterizes any proposed change as a step toward privatization while the Conservatives, rather than make the case for choice and competition, try to convince voters they care about the NHS even more. Read more “Britain’s Health Care Debate Is Broken”
Few British voters outside the Conservative Party trust Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a one-time liberal who opportunistically embraced the reactionary cause of Brexit to advance his own political career and who shamefully besmirched Parliament to get his preferred version of Brexit through.
And still he is projected to win the election in December with support for the Conservatives trending toward 45 percent. Labour, the second largest party, is at 25-30 percent in the polls.
The reason is Jeremy Corbyn. He has pulled Labour so far to the left that middle-income voters no longer trust it.
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has ruled out forming a coalition after the election in December, daring smaller parties to back him or risk another Conservative government.
“We’re not doing deals with anybody,” Corbyn told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday.
Asked specifically about the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) demand for an independence referendum, Corbyn said:
The SNP will have a choice: do they want to put Boris Johnson back in with all the austerity economics that they claim to be against or are they going to say, well, a Labour government is going to deliver for Scotland.