The United Kingdom General Election is scheduled to be held on 12th of December, two and a half years after the previous general election in June 2017. The election is to be contested under the same boundaries for 650 constituencies to elect members of 58th Parliament of United Kingdom. Due to the deadlock about the Brexit withdrawal agreement by Theresa May and then Boris Johnson, House of Commons mutually agreed to consider an early election. So, Brexit hangs over the UK’s general election and top concern for British voters. More than 3.1m people have applied to register to vote since MPs agreed to an election at the end of October reported by BBC.
Earlier in 2017 and now in 2019, election campaigns have been marked by their focus on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union. Since the first referendum in 2016, the issue of Northern Ireland has been part of discussion by political parties and general public. In recent media debates of leaders of Britain’s two main parties, there was absolutely nothing about it. The Scottish nationalist government has been clear since 2017 that it is demanding an independence referendum because it wants Scotland exempted from Brexit. Upcoming election could trigger overall breakup of British union of states as this election is purely based on Brexit deadlock and considered as second referendum.
Manifestos and Promises by Political Parties
British voters are desperate to know about manifestos and promises by political parties in the general election as UK relation with European Union and other countries in the world are going to be redefined. It will further determine the future direction of the UK’s foreign, security, development and international trade relationships beyond leaving the European Union. After three years of uncertain political, economic and development situation, British people are thinking beyond the mentality of “best of two evils” and more competitive environment has been developed where Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party can be game changer. There are 83% (533 out of 650) MPs in the House of Commons are from England and this is not surprising. Very focused manifestoes has been published by all parties especially three leading parties.
The Conservative Party and Brexit Party are committed to leave the EU and offer the prospect of the most significant change in the UK’s place in the world. The Conservative manifesto claims the United Kingdom as most successful political and economic union in history. The Conservatives have also promised a cash boost to the National Health Service.
The Labour Party’s manifesto offers further renegotiation on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and a second referendum, presents a less clear cut alternative foreign policy future. Jeremy Corbyn (Labour Party leader) has promised spending not seen in decades and the re-nationalization of key utilities. Labour says it will use the UK’s influence to end the “bomb first, talk later” approach to security. It says it is opposed to Scottish independence, which it says would be “economically devastating”. Labour promises Scotland “transformative investment” worth “at least around £100bn”.
The Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, by campaigning to remain within the EU, appear to offer continuity – not withstanding the SNP’s commitment to seeking independence for Scotland. The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto embodies and supports “home rule for each of the nations of a strong, federal and united the United Kingdom”.