Boris Johnson has won this election and will enjoy a working majority in parliament for the next five years. Labour had a dreadful night, with their worst result in 80 years, leading to Corbyn announcing his intention to resign.
Election Night Overview
The exit poll released at 10 pm yesterday seemed unrealistic but as the night unfolded, it became increasingly clear Johnson was on course for a large majority. Although Labour managed to increase their support in London, the ‘Red Wall’ was demolished by the Tories handing Labour their worst defeat in 80 years.
In Scotland, the SNP gained 13 seats bringing their total to 48 seats, increasing pressure for a second independence referendum. However, Johnson is adamant he will permit no further referendums.
The Liberal Democrats also had a bad night with their Leader Jo Swinson losing her seat to the SNP and the Liberal Democrats losing one seat overall. For the third consecutive election, the Liberal Democrats have failed to make any significant headway towards their pre-2010 results.
What went wrong for Labour?
Labour faced two key problems: Brexit and Corbyn. Labour made a major tactical error with their Brexit policy. Their policy was confusing and alienated many leave voters allowing them to flood to the Conservatives, costing Labour a significant number of seats in the North.
Their campaign also demonstrated a high level of complacency, the Labour Party believed places like Workington would never vote Tory, clearly they were wrong. This failure to pick up on the seismic political shift which started in 2017 and Labour’s failure to adopt a clear Brexit policy cost Labour this election.
The other problem faced by Labour was Corbyn. Corbyn has a huge popularity issue with lots of activists saying Corbyn was a key concern of voters on the doorstep. This combination of Corbyn and the Brexit effect cost Labour the election, the key question is what does the Labour party do now?
What’s next for the Labour Party?
Corbyn and McDonnell will likely resign in the next few weeks, firing the starter pistol on a leadership race. This leadership race will pose a wider question to the party and start a war between the two wings of the party; the Corbynites and the Centrists.
The Labour party will have to consider whether Corbynism as an ideology has failed or whether Corbyn was just too electorally toxic to win. Unfortunately, Labour will likely repeat its mistakes due to Momentum’s hold over Labour.
Momentum is an unaccountable and opaque organisation which acts like a cult refusing to engage with the other wings of the party, leading to an almost sectarian divide in the party. Labour need to have a serious discussion about the future of the party and whether Corbynism is really an ideology the electorate could back. However, until Momentum is controlled that conversation can never happen and Labour will be doomed to repeat this terrible election.
What’s next for Brexit?
The Tories have won a majority in the Commons, so the UK will be leaving the EU by the 31st January 2020. Johnson will then need to agree a future relationship however due to his majority he no longer needs the support of the ERG or DUP so may change course and support a slightly softer Brexit.
This election represented a seismic change in the political landscape of the UK. For now, the Liberal Democrats and Labour will have to do some soul-searching to decide the future of their parties. For Brexit, the backdrop of this election, for once there is some certainty the UK will leave the EU on the 31st January 2020.