[op-ed snap] The day of Boris: On U.K. polls


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Brexit progress - change in government


The Conservative Party’s victory in the Parliament gives British Prime Minister Boris Johnson a clear mandate to take the U.K. out of the European Union without further delay. He built his campaign around the promise to “get Brexit done”,

Election campaign – Conservatives vs Labour

  • Boris Johnson called for an early election after reaching a new divorce deal with the EU. 
  • He turned the poll into a de facto Brexit referendum, arguing that only a stable Conservative government could take the U.K. out of the EU quickly.
  • His strategy was to consolidate the pro-Brexit vote, get a fresh mandate in Parliament and then quicken the divorce process. 
  • The Labour Party has been ambivalent on the question of Brexit. 
  • Mr. Corbyn promised another referendum and declined to state what his position would be during that vote. 
  • His focus was on the economy. He promised a radical expansion of the state, with plans to tax the rich, increase public spending and nationalise utilities. 
  • Labour fought a Brexit election without articulating a clear position on Brexit. 
  • It lost even its traditional working class districts in the Midlands and north of England that had voted to leave in the 2016 referendum.


  • Mr. Johnson wants to push the withdrawal agreement through Parliament at the earliest so that Britain could leave the union before the January 31 deadline. 
  • A big victory does not mean that the road ahead is smooth. 
  • Brexit agreement – his agreeemnt itself is controversial; once implemented, it could erect an effective customs border between Britain and the island of Ireland. 
  • Good Friday agreement – His deal might have an impact on the Good Friday agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland and to the unity of the Kingdom in general. 
  • With EU – more difficult part of the Brexit process is negotiating an agreement on the U.K.’s future relationship with the EU. It could take years. 
  • Constitutional challenges – the poll results pose administrative and constitutional challenges to the Prime Minister. In Scotland, the Scottish National Party’s landslide victory has rekindled calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence. 


Mr. Johnson might go down in history as the Prime Minister who took the U.K. out of the EU. But at what cost is the question.

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