Should Jeremy Corbyn have won more seats

Background current

Boris Johnson's Tories emerged as the clear winners of the British House of Commons elections. The Conservative Party won an absolute majority of the seats and can now govern alone. The opposition Labor Party under Jeremy Corbyn suffered a heavy defeat.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party won an absolute majority of the seats in the UK House of Commons elections on December 12, 2019. (& copy picture-alliance / AP)

With 365 seats, the Conservative Party under Prime Minister Boris Johnson achieved an absolute majority in the British House of Commons and can now rule alone. This means that the Brexit process comes to an end almost four years after the referendum, in which a majority voted to leave the EU. The exit agreement negotiated with the EU can now, as planned by Johnson, be adopted by January 31, 2020.

The opposition Labor Party only had 203 seats. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said that he wanted to give up the party leadership. The Scottish National Party (SNP) emerged stronger from the elections. The Scottish nationalists grew significantly and won 48 seats. The SNP chairman Nicola Sturgeon spoke out in favor of another Scottish independence referendum. The EU supporters of the Liberal Democrats lost a mandate and only got 11 seats, they were able to prevail against the trend of the Brexit supporters.

The turnout of 67.3% was 1.5% lower than in the last election in 2017. A total of 47.6 million voters were registered for the general election.

Dispute between parliament and prime minister

Boris Johnson lost the majority in the House of Commons in September because numerous members of his party did not want to follow his course on the Brexit issue. Some Conservative MPs left the party, 21 were expelled from the parliamentary group because they spoke out against an unregulated exit from the EU (no-deal Brexit). After that, the votes of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), with which Johnson's predecessor in office, Theresa May, had concluded an agreement in support of the minority government, were no longer sufficient for a government majority in parliament. The next general election was not planned until 2022.

After several failed attempts by the prime minister, the lower house voted for new elections at the end of October. The opposition Labor Party had only given up its resistance to the new elections after an unregulated exit from the EU was ruled out by the renewed postponement of the Brexit date from October 31, 2019 to January 31, 2020.


What is chosen?

In the United Kingdom, the House of Commons was re-elected on December 12th, one of the two chambers of the British Parliament called the House of Commons or Lower House. British citizens elect a total of 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) in the general election. The regular length of a legislative period is five years - since the regular parliamentary elections in 2015, however, the election on December 12, 2019 was the second early new election.

How do you vote?
The United Kingdom has relative majority voting. The MPs are elected in 650 individual constituencies. Whoever gets the most votes in his constituency moves into the lower house. All votes cast for other candidates are forfeited and have no influence on the majority in the House of Commons.

Who can vote?
All UK nationals or residents of the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth of the United Kingdom who are at least 18 years of age are eligible to vote. Every voter has one vote for a candidate in the constituency. Voters must register in advance.

Bicameral system
The British Parliament consists of two independent chambers: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. In contrast to the House of Commons, the House of Lords is not determined by a general election.

Its members are proposed by the Prime Minister and appointed by the Queen. The House of Lords consists of over 800 members, most of whom are nobles for life ("Life Peers"). Your main job is to control the laws passed in the House of Commons.

Illegal pause for parliament

Most recently, the relationship between the Prime Minister and the MPs in the House of Commons was extremely tense after Johnson had put Parliament on an extended break. The opposition accused Johnson of using the break to prevent parliament from preventing the Brexit planned for late October. The Supreme Court ruled the hiatus inadmissible and ended it early. Before the session break, Johnson had failed with a push for new elections. In addition, parliament passed a law to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Who was up for election?

The Conservative Party (Tories) and the Social Democratic Labor Party have dominated the UK political system for decades.

The ruling ones Tories had put their focus in the election campaign on the topics of health care, education, economy and internal security. The key was the implementation of Brexit: Boris Johnson, Prime Minister and chairman of the party, promised in the election campaign under the motto "Get Brexit done" that the exit from the EU would be implemented by the end of January next year.

In addition, the Conservatives want to limit migration to the UK more and make immigration dependent on qualifications.

Labor-Chef Jeremy Corbyn has politically led by far the strongest opposition party to the left in recent years. In the election manifesto, Labor called for the rail network, water supply, energy companies and the post office to be nationalized again. Rent increases should be capped to the level of the inflation rate, the minimum wage raised. In the event of an election victory, a new exit agreement should also be negotiated with the EU. The British should then be able to choose between a Brexit with close ties to the EU and remaining in the international community in a second referendum.

The Liberal Democrats wanted to prevent the exit from the EU under their chairman Jo Swinson. The number of their elected officials had recently grown significantly after converting other parties, especially the Tories. You are committed to the expansion of renewable energies. In terms of domestic and economic policy, the party represents liberal positions and stands for a more open asylum policy.

Also the Scottish National Party (SNP), which strives for an independent Scotland from Great Britain, is represented again in parliament - so far it has provided 35 of the 650 members of the lower house. Other regional parties, such as the Northern Irish Protestant, too Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), again send a small number of MPs to Parliament.

The Greens could not build on their success in the European elections at the end of May, in which they received twelve percent of the vote. In British majority voting, they have little chance of a mandate on their own. Together with the Liberals and the Welsh Plaid Cymru they had concluded an alliance to remain in the EU. Instead of competing for votes, the three parties wanted to support the election of the most promising candidates in the individual constituencies.

The "Brexit party", which received 32 percent of the vote six months ago in the European elections, decided not to run in many constituencies for tactical reasons in favor of the Tories.

More on the subject: