On Thursday 12 December, the United Kingdom held its third general election since 2015. The Conservative Party will hold an overall majority in the Westminster Parliament, securing 364 seats in Thursday’s general election (with 649 of 650 seats declared), an increase of 47 seats from the 2017 election. The Labour Party will take 203 seats; 59 fewer than they secured in the previous general election. The Scottish National Party gained 13 seats to win 48 of the 59 Scottish seats in Westminster, while the Liberal Democrats will take 11 seats in Parliament, one less than they had after the 2017 election. Plaid Cymru have retained the 4 seats they held after the 2017 general election.
In Northern Ireland, ten parties fielded over a hundred candidates, across 18 seats. Brexit defined this election and it appears to have shifted voting behaviours across traditional party lines. How were parties impacted there, and how did they present Brexit in their manifestos?
Results: Five new faces for Northern Ireland
Counting began immediately after polls closed at 22.00 in what was one of the UK’s most contentious general elections. In terms of Northern Ireland, the results for the 18 constituencies began trickling in from shortly before 02.00 and continued throughout the early morning. North Down was the first seat to be declared, while the last seat to be announced was Fermanagh & South Tyrone just after 07.00, due to a recount. In total, with an electorate of just over 1.2 million in Northern Ireland, turnout was 62.1%, which was a decline from 65.4% in 2017.
Northern Ireland in the UK General Elections
2001-2019 (18 Seats)
Conclusion: Next Steps In Brexit
The result of this general election is a working majority of 38 in the House of Commons for the Conservative Party, with 364 MPs elected. This can be compared to the outcome in 2017, which left the Conservatives short eight. With a working Conservative majority, the previous parliamentary deadlock that had plagued the Brexit process to date has been largely removed. It is likely that after Christmas break, the Withdrawal Agreement bill will be able to pass through parliament, facilitating for the UK to formally exit the EU on 31 January 2020. If this does take place, formal negotiations on the next phase of the Brexit trade talks will likely commence in February. However, the deadline to complete these talks is 31 December 2020, with many predicting it highly unlikely to conclude a comprehensive trade dead by then. A one off extension of two years can take place however, political agreement between the EU and UK is required by July in order for it to come into force. As a result, while the British general election has had a conclusive outcome, the same cannot be predicted for Brexit in 2020.