At the recently concluded European Parliament elections, Britain’s exit from the EU played a decisive role. The “Brexit Party,” led by politician Nigel Farage, won big time and snatched 29 of the 73 British parliamentary seats. This will have a significant impact on Brexit and the country’s general elections.
Britain is poised to leave the EU by October 31. With the Brexit Party’s big win at the European Parliament elections, British citizens seem to be underlining their desire to separate their country from the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May has been a failure when it comes to striking a deal with the EU, despite three attempts. She has tendered her resignation as the Prime Minister of the UK and stepped down as the Conservative Party leader on June 7. May will continue with the post of PM until a suitable replacement is found.
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As of now, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson seems to be the front-runner to be the new Prime Minister of Britain. He is a strong Brexit supporter and has promised to deliver an agreement with the EU within four months. The EU has been reluctant in accepting Britain’s demands in the exit agreement. Many expect Johnson to threaten the European Union with a “no-deal Brexit” in which Britain would simply leave the EU without providing any clear outline of its financial or political commitment to Europe.
Such an event would have huge effects on Europe since London is essentially the financial capital of the world. To avoid negative economic repercussions, the EU might cave into the UK’s demands, thereby enabling Johnson to set up a Brexit agreement beneficial for his country. The huge support garnered by the Brexit Party will only embolden Johnson to go all out against the EU.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested that the UK should be prepared to leave the EU without any deal if it is not in their interest. He believes that Farage should be involved in Brexit negotiations, as he could be the key to Britain’s smooth exit from the EU. “I like Nigel a lot. He has a lot to offer… He is a very smart person. They won’t bring him in. Think how well they would do if they did. They just haven’t figured that out yet,” Trump said in a statement (Reuters).
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party seems to have garnered huge support in the UK in a short span of time. Founded in 2018, the party recently topped the opinion polls on national elections. The Brexit Party got 26 percent of the votes while the Labour Party came second with 22 percent. The Conservative Party netted 17 percent, while the Liberal Democrats came fourth at 16 percent. Anti-Brexit party Change UK garnered just 1 percent of the votes.
The real test for the Brexit Party will be the upcoming Peterborough by-election. “The Tory party in Peterborough are nowhere. But Labour have a massive election machine and they are throwing everything at this, and I mean everything… Our key message these last few days to Conservative voters in the north of the constituency is vote Conservative, get Corbyn… Only the Brexit Party can beat Labour here,” Farage said in a statement (Breitbart).
The by-election will be held on June 6. In 2016, Peterborough voted 60.9 percent in favor of leaving the EU. As such, political experts believe that Farage’s Brexit Party has a solid chance of winning the Peterborough seat.