Boris bags bombastic win | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Boris bags bombastic win

Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a resounding election victory on Friday that will allow him to end three years of political paralysis and take Britain out of the European Union by Jan. 31. Brexit represents the country’s biggest political and economic gamble since World War Two, cutting the world’s fifth largest economy adrift from the vast trading bloc and threatening the integrity of the United Kingdom.

For Johnson, who campaigned on a vow to “Get Brexit Done”, victory was a vindication after anti-Brexit opponents tried one manoeuvre after another to thwart him during his first chaotic months in office. “We will get Brexit done on time by the 31st of January, no ifs, no buts, no maybes,” a triumphant Johnson told supporters at a rally in London.

“Leaving the European Union as one United Kingdom, taking back control of our laws, borders, money, our trade, immigration system, delivering on the democratic mandate of the people,” he said, reprising the refrains of his successful Brexit referendum campaign of 2016.

Sterling soared, on course for one of its biggest one-day gains in the past two decades Nearly half a century after Britain joined the EU, Johnson must now strike new international trade deals, preserving London’s position as a top global financial capital and keeping the United Kingdom together.

That last goal looks more challenging, with Scotland voting for a nationalist party that wants an independence referendum, and Irish nationalists performing strongly in Northern Ireland. “Boris Johnson may have a mandate to take England out of the European Union.

He emphatically does not have a mandate to take Scotland out of the European Union,” said Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Her Scottish National Party (SNP) won 48 of Scotland’s 59 seats in the national parliament.

No more delays

Johnson, 55, will now be able to lead Britain out of the EU by Jan. 31, 10 months after the original deadline of March 29, which was repeatedly pushed back as a gridlocked parliament failed to take any clear decisions on Brexit. However, with the complex task of negotiating his country’s future relationship with the bloc still ahead of him, he may struggle to reunite a divided nation.

Many voters regard him as a populist charlatan who played fast and loose with the facts and made unrealistic promises. But his landslide win marks the ultimate failure of the anti-Brexit camp, who tried to thwart the 2016 referendum vote through complex legislative manoeuvres and could not convert huge anti-Brexit street protests into a coherent political strategy.

With Labour split and unclear on Brexit, the strongly anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats had hoped to do well but they won only 11 seats, a crushing result. Party leader Jo Swinson lost her seat in Scotland to the SNP and resigned. With results in from all but one of the 650 parliamentary seats, the Conservatives had won 364, their biggest election win since Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 triumph.

Labour, led since 2015 by the veteran socialist Corbyn, had won just 203 seats, the party’s worst result since 1935. Corbyn’s offer of nationalisations and big state spending failed to win over voters, while his equivocal position on Brexit left many angry and confused, especially in Red Wall areas where large majorities had voted for Brexit in 2016.

Corbyn said he would quit as Labour leader after a “process of reflection”. The party now faces a brutal battle between Corbyn’s socialist followers and his centrist critics.

Red wall Crumbles

In England, the Conservatives won large numbers of seats in the opposition Labour Party’s so-called Red Wall, declining industrial heartlands once hostile to Johnson’s party. In a symbolic win, the Conservatives took Sedgefield, once held by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Labour’s most successful leader.

Educated at Eton, the country’s most elite private school, and known for his bombastic rhetoric, Johnson seemed to critics to be an unlikely candidate to win over working class communities, but Brexit helped him redraw the electoral map.