“Dark Day for Everyone Who Believes in Justice”: U.K. Tories Defeat Labour in Landslide Election

December 13, 2019

The British Conservative Party has won a decisive majority in Thursday’s general election, winning seats in Labour Party strongholds and paving the way for Britain’s exit from the European Union by January 31. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is projected to have 364 seats in the House of Commons compared to Labour’s 203 seats. That would give the Conservatives about a 75-seat majority, the largest since Margaret Thatcher’s landslide in the 1987 election. Johnson’s message throughout the campaign was focused on “getting Brexit done,” reflecting public exhaustion with the issue that has paralyzed British politics ever since the 2016 referendum. His win comes despite his long record of racist and anti-Muslim statements, as well as accusations of sexual harassment. Following the election, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn announced he will resign as party leader, though he will continue to sit as an MP. The Labour membership grew dramatically during Corbyn’s tenure, with the party adopting radical policies focused on ending austerity, reinvesting in the National Health Service and promoting social justice. We get response from George Monbiot, a columnist for The Guardian and author of “Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis,” and Priya Gopal, university lecturer in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge and author of the new book “Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We’re broadcasting from inside the United Nations Climate Change Conference here in Madrid, Spain. But we begin today’s show in the United Kingdom, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party have won a decisive majority in the highly anticipated general election, winning seats in Labour Party strongholds and all but guaranteeing Britain’s exit from the European Union by early next year.

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AMY GOODMAN: In the Labour Party’s worst electoral defeat in 84 years, the Conservatives are projected to win 364 seats in the British House of Commons versus only 203 for the Labour Party. This would give the Conservatives the largest majority since 1987, when Margaret Thatcher was in power.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: This is Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation this morning.

PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON: With this mandate and this majority, we will at last be able to do what?

CROWD: Get Brexit done!

PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON: You’ve been paying attention. Because this election means that getting Brexit done is now the irrefutable, irresistible, unarguable decision of the British people. … We will get Brexit done on time by the 31st of January — no ifs, no buts, no maybes — leaving the European Union as one United Kingdom, taking back control of our laws, borders, money, our trade, immigration system, delivering on the democratic mandate of the people. And at the same time, this one nation Conservative government will massively increase our investment in the NHS, the health service that represents the very best of our country with a single beautiful idea.

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