The United Kingdom held a general election on December 12, 2019. One of the major political issues being voted on was Brexit, the movement by the UK to leave the European Union. For many, a vote for the Conservative party and by extension, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was a vote to leave the EU. The Prime Minister has maintained that the UK will leave the EU by January 31, 2020, with or without a deal. However, this deadline is still uncertain as the UK has until the 31st of December to secure a trade deal. Once the December deadline is passed there may be more certainty on when the withdrawal from the UK will occur. This election was a critical one for the UK and the results have the potential to directly impact the Brexit negotiations.
Who Won the UK General Election?
There are 650 seats in the House of Commons and the members of the House are known as Members of Parliament or MPs. The members elected by their consistencies which they represent while in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister is answerable to the House of Commons. As a result, political parties play an important role in the House.
In the December 12th election, the Conservative party was able to win 365 seats and only needed 326 to have a majority. Therefore, a Conservative Majority has been secured. The Labour Party won 203 and the Scottish National Party (SNP) won 48.
Boris Johnson, the leader of the United Kingdom’s conservative party, was re-elected to his position as Prime Minister. Johnson’s promise from the beginning has been to leave the European Union, no matter what. His victory likely means that Brexit will proceed with the United Kingdom leaving the EU.
This election saw historic losses for the Labour Party. The Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn was unable to convince either Leavers (those who wish to leave the EU) or Remainers (those who wish to stay in the EU) of his policies. Issues, such as a rise in antisemitism within the Labour Party, led to people questioning Corbyn’s leadership abilities.
This election also saw rises in the number of SNP elects. The SNP is the party responsible for the previous Scottish Referendum vote. The SNP is led by Nicola Sturgeon and she is the First Minister of Scotland. She has called for Labour’s support in creating a second Scottish Independence Referendum. This is because Scotland has traditionally voted against Brexit and a Tory party. Sturgeon has called for Scotland to lead its future separate from that of England. She is expected to formally ask the Westminster Parliament for permission to organize the referendum by the end of the year. However, Johnson and other Conservative members state that they will not support a referendum at this time.
How Will the UK Election Results Impact Immigration?
During the 2016 lead-up to the Brexit referendum, the polling data suggested that immigration was the most important factor to people rather than their continuing place in the EU. Today, concerns about immigration appear to be lower however, the UK leaving the EU could impact immigration. However, many believe that leaving the EU will lead to greater control of the immigration process.
Presently, members of any EU state can travel, study and work in other EU member states without the need of work or study permits. This freedom of movement will continue through the transition period which means that EU citizens arriving before December 31st will be able to claim the same rights as before and will be able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. However, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal this freedom of movement would end. Currently, the Conservative government has said that individuals who arrive between the end of the transition period and the day Brexit occurs will also be able to apply for the Euro Temporary Leave to Remain program which would allow them 3 years in the UK before they would need to apply for a different immigration scheme. However, it is possible that leaving the EU will not affect the number of people immigrating to the UK as data shows that the number of EU residents moving to the UK is at its lowest level since 2003 and that the majority of immigrants actually come from outside of the EU.
The Conservative party has been concerned about immigration levels for the past decade. Currently, the party is focused on promoting a system that focuses on control and skill sets. One of the options being proposed is to introduce a points bases system, known as the Australian-style points system (PBS) which would award points based on the skill sets an individual possessed. This system will take time to be created and implemented and therefore, it is likely that the system will not change immediately.
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