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The challenges of the new British parliament

The triumph of the Conservative Party, led by Boris Johnson, comes with clues about how the United Kingdom will proceed with its departure from the EU.

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. / Photo: AP

LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

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Leer en español: Los retos del nuevo parlamento británico

The Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, who took office after the resignation of Theresa May, has had a main slogan during his months in charge: achieve the exit from the European Union under the renowned Brexit.

But the road has not been easy for Johnson, just as it was not easy for his predecessor, May. On the contrary, he has encountered a divided parliament that has prevented an endorsed agreement. Although there have been multiple attempts to reach agreements with the European Union so that the exit is not so drastic, the Chamber has prevented that process, making Brexit impossible.

Faced with the above, Johnson called for the dissolution of Parliament and called elections to consolidate a new one. As a result, last December 12 the Conservative Party triumphed while the Labor, opponent of Brexit, was the great defeated.

Jonhson's game ended with 364 seats, a result that was not that high since 1987, in the triumphant era of Margaret Thatcher, and put this party as the winner with an absolute majority.

On the contrary, the Labor Party ended with 203 seats, which meant the biggest defeat for it in more than 70 years. In the case of this party, whose main figure is Jeremy Corbyn, its leader, they faced the loss of 59 seats in front of the 2017 parliamentary elections. The great loss of this party was the change of trend in some places where Laborist Party had always dominated. Some Laborist members have requested the resignation of Corbyn who, although said he will not return as leader of the party in upcoming elections, has not yet said anything about a resignation.

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The reason for these overwhelming results and the imminent defeat of the British left is that the conservative sector is firm and united in terms of the desire to leave the EU, so support for Johnson's party was never in doubt. On the contrary, the leftist party has been divided among the total rejection of Brexit, which would mean another period of uncertainty, or give in to this and leave "that evil" behind.

Road to Brexit

Now, with these results, Brexit is getting closer and it is possible that the event will take place in the next month of January, the 31st, date approved by the European Union so that the country manages to leave with an agreement. That has been the purpose of Johnson, who seeks to achieve this exit at all costs since 2015 when he was one of the leaders of the referendum campaign.

Before January 31, 2020, and with a new consolidated Parliament, the Prime Minister must resubmit the agreement. This time, with an immense conservative majority, it is most likely that it will be approved and can be released on that date.

In that case, after that date, the true process of leaving the European Union would begin, which includes conversations between the EU members and the European parliament and would take about a year.

The challenges of parliament

Beyond Brexit, the United Kingdom faces a huge division that has prevented it from advancing on that and other issues, such as the union of Ireland and the independence of Scotland.

Another great winner of the elections was the Scottish National Party (SNP), which managed to snatch seats from the main parties to obtain a powerful result of 48 parliamentarians. With this number, they can advance with their main proposal: achieve an independentist referendum in Scotland.

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The main argument of the independentists is the contraband in which Scotland goes against the tendency of England. As an example of this, while in general the conservatives won multiple seats throughout the territory, they lost 13 Scottish seats. The SNP and the Scottish independentists are against the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU, so, with independence, they seek not to have to go through that process.

For its part, Northern Ireland also battles between union and separation. In the results, the big loser was the Democratic Unionist Party, which had been a key ally for the sector that supports Brexit. According to the BBC, "voters also elected more deputies related to the unification of Ireland than defenders of British unity."

The results of Northern Ireland, where the Northirish parliament did not achieve a majority, also became the perfect impulse to support Irish unification. However, unlike the large independence majority in the Scottish case or the conservative support for the consolidation of Brexit, in this case, the Northern Ireland Alliance Party has the majority. However, this party has declared itself neutral, which would put in trouble that impulse to achieve unification.

What was mostly supported in this territory was the intention to remain in the European Union. Thus, pleasing Northern Ireland could be one of Johnson's useful strategies on his way to Brexit.

Faced with these disparate results, Johnson faces a disjointed country with many juxtaposed interests, so achieving unity and listening to different positions will be the main challenge.

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