Become a Patron

In the Spotlight: UK Parliamentary Election in Three Minutes

The elections in the United Kingdom have come to an end. In case you have been busy and are looking for a simple summary of the results and their consequences without needing to read lengthy analysis, you’re in luck. Europe Elects condensed all the relevant bits into a package of 100 words:

Thursday 12th‘s election in the UK proved to be a decisive win for the governing Conservatives (ECR), all but ensuring that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan will be approved by parliament and the UK will leave the EU on January 31st. The worst result for Labour (S&D) since 1935 and the stagnation of the Liberal Democrats (RE) mean the opposition will not be able to influence the Brexit process. All three major parties lost ground in Scotland with gains by the Scottish National Party (G/EFA), increasing calls for a second independence referendum. Similarly, pro-Irish unification Members of Parliament overtook unionist parties in Northern Ireland, putting a referendum on Irish unity on the agenda. 

If you have slightly more time and interest, here’s the same in 300 words:

The UK General Election result confirms there will be no second referendum on EU membership and Brexit will happen on January 31st.

With 365 seats in Parliament, the Conservative Party (ECR) has won a sizeable majority. It not only means Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to get the UK out of the EU by January 31st, but also that he’ll be able to pass his policies with ease over the next five years. Questions now turn to what kind of trade deal can be negotiated between the UK and EU by the end of 2020 when the transition period ends and whether or not the UK will need to extend that period.

On 202 seats, Labour (S&D) was left with its worst result since 1935 as its traditional strongholds in the working-class Midlands and North collapsed. A decisive proportion of pro-Brexit voters in these regions abandoned Labour for the Conservatives and the Brexit Party (NI). Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has pushed the party to adopt more left-wing policies including nationalisations and increasing taxes on the wealthy, will resign, as the leader of the Liberal Democrats (RE), Jo Swinson, has already done. Liberal Democrats not only failed to make expected gains—winning 11 seats in overall and one less than in 2017—but the leader also lost her own seat in Parliament.

Meanwhile in Scotland, all three major parties lost ground as the pro-independence Scottish National Party (G/EFA) won 48 out of 59 seats, prompting its leader Nicola Sturgeon to call for a second referendum on Scottish Independence. A referendum on Irish reunification will also likely be on the agenda, as pro-Irish reunification parties in Northern Ireland overtook British unionist Members of Parliament for the first time ever. Sinn Féin (GUE/NGL) and the SDLP (S&D) of the pro-Irish reunification side won more seats combined than the unionist and pro-Brexit DUP (NI), with the anti-Brexit Alliance Party (RE) also making gains.

Still hungry for more? Live again the suspense with our team members as the night and results unfolded; the complete rundown of the election is available at our now archived liveblog.

Mathew Nicolson contributed to the piece.