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What can we expect from the UK elections? Will it finally break the Brexit deadlock?

What can we expect from the UK elections? Will it finally break the Brexit deadlock?
Since the EU referendum in 2016, the election is becoming particularly hard to predict as the country has become polarised into Leave and Remain groups.
IN a few days, the British people will be voting for a snap general election on December 12, 2019. It will be the third general election since 2015.

This election, known to be the ‘Brexit election’ is expected to finally settle the deadlock over Brexit.

Since the EU referendum in 2016, the election is becoming particularly hard to predict as the country has become polarised into ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ groups.

Which parties are contesting and where do they stand regarding Brexit?
Which parties are contesting and where do each party stand on Brexit?

So, what can we expect after 12th December 2019? And what will happen after 31st January 2020, the new Brexit deadline set by the EU? What is at stake? We discuss with Senior Fellow from ISIS Malaysia, Sholto Byrnes on the different outcomes post-December 12.

The two biggest political parties in the UK: The Conservative party (Tories) and The Labour party.

If Tories wins majority:

  • If the Conservative party win with a reasonable majority, they will get a withdrawal agreement through parliament as soon as possible which then has to be agreed with the EU.
  • Brexit will happen January 31, 2020

“Once that happens, then everyone will say Britain has finally left the EU. On paper that would be true, and the next day it will seem as though nothing has changed whatsoever.

"Because there’s a period of up until 31st December 2020, which is the transition period, EU and the UK would have to agree on what kind of trade arrangements do they want to have. So, within that time, Britain will still be subject to EU law, regulations. It is in complete regulatory alignment, it will seem as though nothing has changed,” says Byrnes.



Now, if Labour party wins:

  • Go back to Brussels, renegotiate the Brexit deal within three months.
  • Call for a second EU referendum to give British people a choice of the new Brexit deal or remain in the EU within six months.

“Corbyn has often said that they will remain neutral in the campaign in the second referendum. There is a logic to it, but that logic might have worked 2-3 years ago.

"The worry for the Labour Party is that a significant number of voters will say they just want to get it (Brexit) done. And this is what the Tory strategy in this election is all about,” Byrnes said.

“I think the best-case scenario for them is that they deny the conservative the majority and then all the other parties who are basically pro remain- either form a coalition with them or more likely what they call it – confidence and supply arrangement (an agreement between political parties that is looser than a formal coalition).

"Basically, they are saying ‘we’re not going to vote to overthrow this government, but you’ll be a minority government on the basis that you will put through a new deal and a second referendum.”



But Byrnes is not convinced that scenario will play out:

“The reason why I don’t think that will happen is because so many people are just so fed up with Brexit. It’s not just the pro-Brexiters who are fuming and really angry and say look: ‘We voted to leave 3 years ago.  Why are we still not there? There are an awful lot of Remainers too who said that: ‘We know we didn’t win, but we accept the results, and let’s just get this over and done with. Can we finally start talking about something else’?'




The impact of Brexit on Britain’s economy

Byrnes says: “You can get whatever answer you want to that question, according to which economist you ask. You know, I’m afraid all the research, none of it tends to be objective.”

“How ever Britain ends up leaving the EU, on what trade terms, of course there is going to be some short-term disruption. The question is, whether you believe this will give Britain a chance to take control of its own destiny and forge new trade deals.”