- - Monday, December 9, 2019

Brits go to the polls on Thursday to choose a new Parliament. Boris Johnson will likely remain prime minister, but will the Conservatives have a clear majority, or will they have to rely on support from other political parties?

The Labor Party’s campaign has been dogged by claims of anti-Semitism and that its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, used documents from the Reddit website to attack the Conservatives that may have been put there by Russian sources. 

Regarding Brexit, Mr. Corbyn would negotiate a new deal with the European Union and then hold a second referendum, but it is possible he could be negotiating a new job instead.

If the Conservatives win an outright majority, the U.K. will leave the EU on or before Jan. 31, but many, including Nigel Farage, argue this will be Brexit-in-name-only. He predicts, “We will be back in crisis by June unless this withdrawal agreement is amended.”

President Trump has repeatedly stated a U.S. trade deal will be difficult with the U.K. as the Brexit deal currently stands. 

Northern Ireland will also have to get used to being treated differently to the rest of the U.K., especially over customs, with its long-term future uncertain. 

Mr. Johnson’s deal was supposed to have improved Theresa May’s provisions for the province, yet the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) still feels its constituents are being sold out.

Supporters for Mr. Johnson say that those details can be sorted out afterward and that his deal is the best chance the U.K. has of ever getting out, so grab it.

This has proven a persuasive line of argument as Brexit still remains uncertain even three-and-a-half years after the referendum and its supporters’ nerves are starting to fray.

Already some Brexit Party candidates have jumped ship back to the Conservatives, and last week four of its elected members of the European Parliament resigned for that same reason.

They now claim the Conservatives are the only option for Brexit supporters and democrats alike. Never mind letting down those who voted for them, they may also be plain wrong in their prediction.

Mr. Farage already stood down his candidates in Conservative safe seats to avoid splitting the Leave vote. Had Mr. Johnson done the same with his Tory hopeless-hopefuls in strong Labor areas, this could have increased the number of Leave MPs in Parliament.

So, will the Conservatives’ obsession with blocking Mr. Farage risk their Brexit deal? Especially as most of the Remain parties have agreed to field one candidate to increase the chances of pro-EU MPs getting voted in. 

The Conservatives obviously feel confident that they will get an overall majority and they didn’t want an alliance with the DUP or the Brexit Party, as that could mean changing their deal, or dropping it altogether and so back to square one. 

But outright success is far from a guaranteed outcome. Since Brexit, the strength of a government is not dependent on how many MPs it has, but how many will support it in crucial votes.

Mrs. May felt powerless to reprimand her own dissenting Remainer MPs, but Boris Johnson took a much tougher line by kicking out the never-Brexiteers from the Conservative Party. 

He didn’t mind if his government fell as he wanted an election to strengthen his mandate. That didn’t happen because of the new Fixed term Parliaments Act, so he was stuck in charge but unable to get laws passed, until the opposition majority relented. 

A “hung” Parliament this time will not necessarily mean a return to that same stalemate situation. If a majority of Leave MPs are elected across parties in the House of Commons, then Brexit can proceed even with a Conservative minority government.

There is certainly huge voter anger out there as people feel Brexit has been undermined and this could lead to them forgoing their previous party loyalties to vote for Leave candidates.

One reason is that in 2016, people were told that something called Article 50 had to be “triggered” in order for the U.K. to leave the EU.

The two-year process seemed reasonable after being in an organization for so long, although no one was quite sure why Theresa May waited nine months just to get it started.

Normally, when a trigger is pulled something comes out the other end of the barrel. In this case, the U.K. should have come out of the EU, but two years later and nothing, nada, rien du tout, gar nichts. 

Article 50 was firing blanks and people feel they were sold a lie, a politician’s promise. Just like the Democrats calling for an impeachment without a crime, it was leading nowhere.

And even if Brexit does get enacted this time, there are still months and maybe years of negotiations to come. But it will be the end of the beginning, with no turning back. 

• Andrew Davies is a U.K.-based video producer and scriptwriter.

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