London: Finally UK will have the general election (GE), which will restore functionality to Parliament. The most-leftist faction of Labour MPs realised that Labour’s procrastination over the government’s repeated calls for a GE was losing them support and the House voted overwhelmingly for a GE on 12 December: out of a total of 650 MPs, 438 voted for, 20 against. Most abstentions were from Labour MPs who have issues with Corbyn’s leadership.
Both Conservative and Labour parties have begun emergency candidate selection. Conservatives are thought to be holding back safe seat selections until the week of 11 November.
The Brexit Party (BxP) is also enjoying a split. A faction within BxP made up of former Conservatives pragmatically want to place candidates in 20-30 Leave orientated Labour seats, indicating that they support Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill. Nigel Farage, leader of BxP, wants to extend his political life by fielding 500 candidates against the Conservative Party in every seat in the UK, No Deal is the only acceptable result for him. This suggests his aim is to secure a hung Parliament. How Farage will afford this now that short campaign spending rules will apply makes sense of why Farage is appealing for an unlikely “Leave Alliance” with the Conservative Party.
The 31 January 2020 extension granted by the EU, which Johnson was forced into accepting, is flexible, which means that if Johnson secures the desired majority of 60-70, technically the UK could exit the EU before Christmas. Only one thing might deter this, supposing elected ultra-Brexit ERG member MPs were to demand further negotiation on the Irish Sea border regulations, which some consider threaten the integrity of a United Kingdom. Would any newly elected MP want to begin political life by causing such disruption?
Jeremy Corbyn launched an aggressive Labour Campaign announcing, “The most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen”.
Johnson’s message is consistent with and a continuum of his leadership bid, investing in the NHS, more policing and better education for all; for the first-time polling suggests that Johnson is more trusted with the NHS than Corbyn.
This week, 10 of the Tory MPs who lost the whip were reinstated to help reduce the sour atmosphere/bad feeling that resulted from their expulsion within the party, but already four of these announced they will not stand for re-election; other Tory MPs (Amber Rudd, Nicky Morgan) have recognised they will not be re-elected, so have quit.
Jo Swinson, LibDem leader, had her confident aspirations squished by Andrew Neil, UK’s leading political journalist, when he told her she would not be the next Prime Minister—this is backed up by current polling. At the time of writing, Conservatives are 12 points ahead of Labour and are on an upward trajectory. Johnson is presently 23 points ahead of Corbyn as UK’s preferred PM, according to Britain Elects.
Conservatives are believed to have held on to more 2017 voters than the opposition, but tactical voting is going to have the biggest influence on the election result—combined opposition party voters are likely to vote to stop a Conservative win.
At this moment in time it is thought neither Labour nor LibDem can secure a majority. But they are working together tactically to avoid a Tory majority. A hung Parliament is not only a risk for the Conservatives but for Britain.