Voting underway in crunch UK ‘Brexit election’

Voting is well underway in the first December election in the UK for almost a century, with the divisive issue of Brexit and the political futures of both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn all on the line.
credit: Press Association

By Martin Banks

12 Dec 2019

Polling stations will remain open across the UK until 10pm in the third general election since 2015 and the results are expected in the early hours of Friday.

An eve-of-election poll by BMG Research has put Conservatives on 41 percent, Labour on 32 percent and Liberal Democrats on 14 percent, pointing towards a small overall majority for the Tories but leaving open the possibility of a hung Parliament.

The survey of more than 1,600 voters, conducted between 6 and 11 December, found headline voting figures unchanged from a similar recent poll.


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If repeated on Thursday, they point to a Johnson majority of around 25-30 in the House of Commons, paving the way for the Prime Minister to press ahead with taking the UK out of the EU on 31 January, as planned.

However, in an eve-of-election intervention by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, the UK was warned that trade negotiations cannot be finished in the timeframe claimed by the Prime Minister whose big election promise has been to “get Brexit done.”

In a leaked recording, Barnier told a private meeting that the UK’s 11-month timetable to wrap up trade talks by 2021 was “unrealistic.”

In his final message to voters, Johnson said, “Just imagine how wonderful it will be to settle down to a turkey dinner this Christmas with Brexit decided - and how awful it would be if Corbyn and Sturgeon were in Downing Street advancing their plans for two more referendums.”

“At stake is the very existence of the UK, it’s membership of the EU, whether right-wing populism can take over a country, the future of our public services and whether a buffoon can remain Prime Minister after repeatedly being caught out lying” Richard Corbett MEP

He added, “Let's stop the chaos and stop the referendums. We can secure a majority Conservative government if we win just nine more seats.”

Corbyn, in his final message to the electorate, said, “Boris Johnson won't just keep everything the same, he will make it worse. He will open our NHS to takeover by American mega corporations and carry on with more cuts.”

“That's why Donald Trump wants Boris Johnson's Conservatives to win.”

Speaking on Thursday, Richard Corbett, a senior Labour MEP, told The Parliament Magazine, “This election is of historic importance. At stake is the very existence of the UK, it’s membership of the EU, whether right wing populism can take over a country, the future of our public services and whether a buffoon can remain Prime Minister after repeatedly being caught out lying”.

“I’ve never known an election where so many people are undecided right to the end of the campaign so the outcome cannot be predicted” Molly Scott Cato MEP

Further comment came from UK Greens MEP Molly Scot Cato, who told this site, “I’ve never known an election where so many people are undecided right to the end of the campaign so the outcome cannot be predicted.”

“The level of disillusion with the two main parties that our electoral system forces people towards is also unprecedented. This must be the last election where people are forced to choose something they don’t want for fear of something worse. We must have a fair voting system.”

Senior SNP deputy Alyn Smith told The Parliament Magazine, “This has been a fascinating election that will be studied - for good reasons and bad - for years.”

“In Scotland we now have three political axes: the traditional left/right, but also yes/no to independence and remain/leave to our EU membership. They intersect differently for different people and despite the fact that we have proportional voting for all levels of government in Scotland, given the madness of the UK voting system a bucketload of tactical voting to boot.”

“This has been a fascinating election that will be studied - for good reasons and bad - for years” Alyn Smith MEP

He added, “There will be surprises as the results come in, but I’m proud to be an SNP candidate, working to stop Brexit for Scotland and the UK, and towards independence in Europe.”

Also speaking to this website on Thursday, Denis Macshane, a former Europe Minister in the UK under Tony Blair, warned of problems ahead unless the Prime Minister can win a big majority.

He said, ”Boris Johnson has to win a very big majority because if it is a small one he will become a prisoner of factions in the Tory Party who will want to re-open the Northern Ireland clause in the Withdrawal Agreement and will make alliances with all opposition MPs to vote him down just as he made alliances to vote down Theresa May.”

“Brexit will not be settled by this cynical election with three party leaders who have utterly unimpressed the public” Denis MacShane, former UK Europe Minister

“If Johnson has no majority we head for a new referendum.”

The former Labour MP was also scornful of Corbyn, saying, “Brexit will not be settled by this cynical election with three party leaders who have utterly unimpressed the public.”

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