What next for Brexit?

Staff Writer | May 31, 2019
The Big Two in Britain get bloody noses.

The recent elections to the European Parliament in Britain were not very surprising. Polls had predicted that the two parties which had dominated politics in the United Kingdom (UK) since World War I, the Conservatives and the Labour Party, would see their vote share drastically reduced.

The newly formed Brexit Party, founded and led by Nigel Farage – arguably the reason the UK is leaving the European Union (EU) – emerged as the winner, with 30.5% of the vote. The Liberal Democrats – buoyed by being unambiguously opposed to Brexit compared to Labour’s more muddled stance – saw its vote share jump to nearly 20%, compared to just over six percent in the previous European election. Labour was beaten into third place, with 13.8% of the vote (losing ten percentage points compared to the previous election).

The Tories found themselves in a humiliating fifth position, with barely nine percent of the vote, being beaten even by the Greens.

Analysts have offered different interpretations of these results. Some have seen the victory of the Brexit Party as proof that the people of the UK want Brexit soon, while others have pointed out that the vote share of the two explicitly anti-Brexit parties (the Liberal Democrats and the Greens) was greater than that of the Brexit Party.

A complicating factor is British Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent announcement that she will resign in June, with the number of Tory figures announcing their candidature to succeed her already in double digits.

British politics is likely to remain unstable for the foreseeable future, until the relationship between the UK and the EU is decided, one way or the other.


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