Boris Johnson has obtained the mandate for Brexit. He has now been commissioned by the voters to bring the country together and make progress, Johnson told AFP early on Friday morning in London.
After counting almost all constituencies, the conservatives won at least 364 of the 650 seats (plus 47) and thus the absolute majority in the lower house. This allows Johnson to have his EU-negotiated Brexit agreement swiftly approved by Parliament. He could thus lead Britain out of the EU by 31 January 2020, as planned.
The Social Democratic Labor party led by top candidate Jeremy Corbyn scored 203 seats on Friday morning, which is a drop of 59. The Liberal Democrats came to eleven, the Scottish Nationalists SNP to 48 seats. The national conservative DUP came in at eight, the Irish Republican SF at seven, the center-left PC at four and the Greens at a seat.
Contrary to pre-election speculation, Johnson was able to hold his London constituency Uxbridge by a clear majority. He won about 7 000 more votes than his nearest competitor. “We live in the greatest democracy in the world,” the Tories chief said in the wake of the first results.
Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn acknowledged the defeat and announced it on Friday morning. However, he did not want to resign as party leader right away. A reflection process was necessary for the party he said. But soon after his statement, he resigned as the leader of the Labour Party in the wake of anger expressed by Labourites over this week’s disastrous general election. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, also lost her seat in Parliament in the election.
The SNP, by winning the vote, is fueling new speculation about a second exit referendum from the United Kingdom. In Ireland too, Unionists lost to Irish nationalists.
Despite the comfortable majority in the lower house, it will not be a walk in the park for the beaming winner, Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU in a year will be pretty tough, especially since Brussels is now offended (again) and turning its nose up at British voters.
The end of January – the date of the official withdrawal – and the conclusion of the free trade agreement does not end the negotiations: The last chapter in the Brexit book could be thicker than the election results suggest.
US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Looks like a great victory for Boris!” Austria’s designated Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) congratulated Johnson on an “impressive election victory”. The ÖVP leader said he hoped that the agreement to withdraw Britain from the European Union can now be swiftly ratified.
AfD Group leader Alice Weidel saw the result as a vote in favor of Britain’s exit from the EU. “The British people have made a clear decision: they’ve had enough of the buzz about the #Brexit – and finally want to see the referendum result carried out.” She congratulated Johnson on “his strong mandate” and wished him “good luck” on leaving.
AfD leader Jörg Meuthen criticized the coverage of German media in the run-up to the election. “Since June 23, 2016, the day of Brexit voting, [public broadcasters] ARD and ZDF, as well as numerous print and online media, told us that the vote at the time was pure coincidence, at best owing to a short-term mood, wanted only by old white men and by no means representative of the still overwhelming EU enthusiasm in Britain. That was years of fake news at its finest – at least since yesterday night it became completely clear.”
The errors and ideological biases of many pundits in French media and political figures over the past three years were also revealing.
Since June 23, 2016, with 51,9 percent of Britons voting for an exit from the United Kingdom from the European Union, French media and political figures have continued to spread their alarmism and their disdain for the British while criticizing a “stupid” or even “irresponsible” choice.
Boris Johnson was ridiculed daily in the press. But on Thursday, December 12, the Conservative party and its leader obtained an absolute majority in the House of Commons, during the legislative elections, illustrating once again the support of the British for an exit from the EU.
The expression “hangover” was most used on news channels in France in the aftermath and the French media had trouble swallowing the bitter pill of defeat.
“Their troubles, and those of the whole country, are just beginning”, announced L’Express. For BFMTV, “the English do not know why they voted”. The interviews only included the British who regret their vote.
FranceInfo noted that “some supporters of Brexit already regret their choice”. And “Vote ‘out’ … and ‘bite your nails’,” announced Le Télégramme.
And since Boris Johnson came to power, the French press has found its new scapegoat. “The liar who weakens Europe” , headlined Le Parisien on November 26. The British Prime Minister was particularly qualified as being a “rogue” and “manipulator” according to Remainers.
Le Monde, for its part, spoke a few days ago of “disturbing elections for Europe”, referring to the legislative elections. The newspaper estimates that the United Kingdom is “more divided than ever on the question of Europe”. Once again, it is clear that one of the leading daily newspapers in France erred.
“The ‘Great Britain of the world’ that he promised after Brexit flatters imperial nostalgia but very much resembles a chimera,” wrote Le Monde. And to clearly display their ideological bias: “For all Europeans, starting with the French, the closest neighbours and partners, the rooting of a Trump on the small island dreaming of transforming the United Kingdom into a tax haven by practicing social and environmental dumping at the doors of the continent, would be very bad news”.
Jean-Michel Aphatie, a journalist, noted without any hint of nuance that “these British” are “little morons anyway”.
A tweet from pundit Alain Duhamel also emerged: “I bet the following: when the Brexit negotiation ends in two years, it will have become very unpopular in Great Britain.”
And one of the “great visionaries of our time”, the incontrovertible Bernard-Henri Lévy, who has delivered many faulty prophecies before, said on the morning of the British vote: “Probable Brexit defeat. Rout, therefore, of sovereignists, xenophobes, racists. It remains to reinvent Europe next.”