Cascade Commentary

Boris Johnson wins historic victory in General Election as he vows to “Get Brexit Done”

13 December 2019 

Boris Johnson has won a momentous victory securing the Conservative party’s largest majority since 1987. Many traditional labour seats voted blue as Johnson vowed to “Get Brexit Done”. With an 86 majority in the House of Commons, Johnson will now lead the UK out of Europe – 1,268 days after the public historically voted to Leave.

Dubbed the Brexit election, voters took to the polls with stark contrasts based on Leave and Remain areas. In seats that saw Strong Leave votes in 2016, the Conservative party won big while in Strong Remain areas, Conservatives lost seats. Despite the ongoing divide, what is clear is that Johnson now has a clear mandate for Leave. 

While Boris Johnson stormed ahead, Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson suffered. Corbyn was criticised for a hard-left manifesto with Alastair Campbell highlighting the troubles within a Labour party that has failed to win a general election majority aside from Tony Blair’s centre-based politics in over half a century. The Labour leader announced in the aftermath that the Labour party will move into a period of reflection and confirmed that he will not lead the party into a future General Election. Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Kier Starmer, Shadow Education secretary Angela Rayner and backbencher Jess Phillips are all considered as potential candidates to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

Meanwhile in Scotland, Jo Swinson lost her seat to the SNP’s Amy Callaghan, losing by 149 votes. Swinson had campaigned with a strong manifesto centred on Remain but failed to make the gains she had hoped for as England made it clear it wishes to leave the EU. Under party rules, the leader must hold a seat in the House of Commons and therefore Swinson must step aside sparking a leadership contest within the Liberal Democrat party too. Sir Ed Davey and Baroness Sal Brinton will be acting leaders for the party during the interim period.

The Scottish vote went to Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP in a landslide victory that saw the SNP build a further 8% of the vote since 2017. This victory has led Sturgeon to call for a second Scottish Independent Referendum as Scotland voted to Remain and have failed to vote for Johnson’s Brexit mandate at the polls.

The Conservative party gained seats in Wales winning 6 key seats from the Labour party. 3 female Conservative MPs - Virginia Crosbie, Fay Jones and Sarah Atherton – were elected to parliament with key wins. Despite these gains, Labour remains the largest party in Wales with 22 seats, but the Conservative party now holds 14 and this serves as the party’s best result in Wales since 1983.

Over in Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) lost 2 seats including its Westminster Leader. The DUP had propped up Theresa May’s Government in 2017 but has not enjoyed reward at the polls.

Johnson now has a clear mandate for Brexit, and it appears that as a result the UK will be leaving the European Union in 2020.

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