Last night Boris Johnson presented a bill to parliament calling for a general election in December. The date of 9 December, which was proposed by the opposition, was rejected in favour of 12 December. The bill passed by 438 votes to 20, which means it will now be presented to the House of Lords to be checked and ratified, and unless some unforeseen incident arises the election will then go ahead on Thursday, 12 December.
As the Conservative Party has been operating as a minority government at the behest of the opposition parties, a new election should return a majority government capable of governing without recourse to crippling compromises with its political adversaries.
This will be the third general election in 3 years. The first in 2015 delivered a new Conservative government committed to proposing a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. It has been the failure to enact the will of the people in the referendum which has created the constitutional crisis which has dominated politics for the past 3 years. The 2017 election – which the Conservatives also won – was seen as a reaffirmation of the British public’s desire for leaving the EU, however the government majority was so small it was dependent on the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland to survive. The recent impasse has been caused by Conservative MPs dedicated to either remaining in the European Union or renegotiating the terms of leaving defecting to other parties or independent status. That has resulted in the administration being too weak to pursue its agenda, and too weak to change it. The next election should remove the parliamentary impasse and enable the winner to address the Brexit issue more effectively.