UK election result: What the Tory win means for Brexit and Ireland

Analysis: Result is likely to the clear way for an early general election in Ireland

Dec. 13, 2019

The Conservatives have secured a strong overall majority and the UK is now set to leave the EU at the end of January 2020.

The huge political and economic risk to Ireland of a no-deal Brexit would thus be removed.

However more uncertainty – and more deadlines – lie ahead in 2020. Boris Johnson has said he wants a harder form of Brexit and that carries threats for Ireland.

To meet his promise of getting Brexit “ done”, meaning the UK would formally leave, requires Johnson to get House of Commons approval for the withdrawal agreement he struck with the EU.

There may still be some objections in Conservative ranks – and the DUP will be trying to bolster these – but the odds are now strongly on the withdrawal agreement being passed to allow the UK to leave early next year.

In turn this is likely to clear the way for an early general election in Ireland, possibly in February or March.

A crash-out Brexit – without a withdrawal agreement being signed – had always been Ireland’s nightmare, leading to the immediate imposition of barriers to trade with the UK and the need for checks and controls at the Irish Border.

This is why Taoiseach Leo Varadkar brokered the deal with Johnson to remove the backstop from the withdrawal agreement and replace it with a new permanent arrangement, involving some checks in the Irish Sea.

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Mikis on Europe (2011)