Britain: Jeremy Corbyn has more options than Boris Johnson

Thursday, 12.12.2019

For Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservatives, chances are good that they will be strongest on Thursday's parliamentary elections. Recent polls see the Tories at 43 percent approval – they have nine percentage points more than the strongest opposition party Labor.


However, Johnson has a problem. In order to retain his post, he needs a – possibly clear – better result than Labor around party leader Jeremy Corbyn. On the other hand, fewer votes could be enough to become prime minister. In order to lead a government, Johnson needs not only the relatively best result, but the absolute majority. He was so frustrated with all the other parties that they would probably fail as allies.

With the Tories as the relatively strongest force to put the government, but due to a lack of absolute majority de facto incapacitated: Johnson had the early elections scheduled for 12 December to put an end to this situation exactly.

For Corbyn, Johnson will not get enough

  That could be Corbyn's chance. Unlike Johnson, he does not necessarily need an absolute majority in parliament. He just has to prevent the conservatives from getting them. Corbyn could also act with a so-called "Hung Parliament", ie a lower house, in which no party has more than 50 percent of the seats.


In this case, Corbyn would have to run a minority government with one or two allies. The bosses of Labor's largest opposition party are still struggling with Corbyn's left-wing course. Nevertheless, they could engage in a temporary community of convenience. Because Labor, the Scottish SNP and the Liberal Democrats (LibDems) unite at least one moment: They want to stop Johnson's hard Brexit course. Large differences in other topics would be so temporarily secondary. (Read here an overview of what questions voters except Brexit are asking.)

But the political price for such an anti-Johnson alliance would be high. The overview:

Labor promises a better deal with Brussels and a second referendum to be decided by the British – new labor deal or whereabouts in the EU. An exit without agreement would then be excluded, maybe even the whole Brexit blown off.

  The nationalist Scottish SNP is expected to be the third strongest force in the lower house. She wants to prevent the EU exit. Scotland voted 62% to stay in the EU at the 2016 Brexit referendum. In return for supporting Corbyn, the SNP calls for a second referendum on Scotland's independence from the rest of the United Kingdom.


That has already excluded Corbyn, but only for the "next two years". A smart move by the opposition leader. If he succeeds previously to settle the Brexit more advantageous or completely out of the world, would be the biggest reason for the Scottish independence aspirations away.

Video: This is how the British electoral system works


Topical Press Agency / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

  A second potential Labor alliance partner is the Liberal Democrats. These and Labor are diametrically opposed in most respects, especially in economic policy (read more about the political views of British political parties here).

  LibDems party leader Jo Swinson has repeatedly ruled to co-sponsor a Corbyn administration. However, a key promise of the LibDems is to keep Britain in the EU. Before the LibDems have to face Johnson's stalemate, they could benefit from Corbyn's promise of a second referendum and, at least through their abstention in the House of Commons, help him.

  A cobbled-together government headed by Corbyn would be anything but a dream constellation for everyone involved. It is also questionable how stable such an alliance would be. It would probably end with the settlement or cancellation of Brexit.

  The only party that has recently come into question as a Conservative alliance partner and can win the Johnson Brexit course is the Northern Irish DUP. However, the prime minister can no longer rely on their support since he betrayed one of the fundamental values ​​of the Northern Irish with his withdrawal agreement by accepting a customs border on the Irish Sea.

Johnson's opponents hope for tactical voting


Whether Johnson prevails or Corbyn with the help of other parties head of government, is currently not clear. The latest polls from opinion polling agency YouGov give Johnson's conservatives the lead. The Tories are likely to reach 339 out of 650 seats in the lower house. That would be a clear majority over the absolute majority. According to YouGov, anything between 311 and 367 seats is possible for the Tories – and thus the "Hung Parliament", which could be the door opener for a minority government under Corbyn.

  Stakeholders wishing to prevent Brexit are giving voting recommendations on how exactly this scenario can become reality. According to the EU-friendly association "Best for Britain", in only 36 of the 650 constituencies, voters would have to vote tactically in such a way that the Conservatives lose their predicted majority. According to this, about 41,000 votes could suffice for the turnaround. That would be less than a thousandth of the approximately 45.8 million British eligible to vote.

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