To better understand the results of the general elections in the UK, the lessons for British politics and the next steps of Brexit, Philippe Bernard, editorialist at World and former correspondent in London, answered questions from Internet users Monde.fr, Friday.
Axelle: After the Conservatives' victory and a Brexit promise for January 31, what are the next steps for Boris Johnson?
Philippe Bernard: The only date set is 31 January 2020, the end of the EU's additional period in the United Kingdom after London missed the previous deadline of 29 March 2019. After its election victory, Boris Johnson will be ratified by MEPs the agreement he renegotiated with the EU. This should happen by January. Once the European Parliament has ratified the text itself, the legal break will be consumed.
Given the result of the legislative elections of yesterday which gives a very clear majority (364 seats out of 650) to the conservatives, the ratification of the Brexit agreement is no longer in doubt. The flagship campaign slogan of Boris Johnson, "Let's realize Brexit" allowed him to rally 70% of pro-Brexit voters. The Conservative Party itself, long divided over Europe, became the Brexit Party.
Brexit you said Brexit: How will this output translate for the movement of people and goods? Will a visa be required to go to Great Britain?
One of the three parts of the Brexit agreement that will soon be ratified by the Westminster Parliament is devoted to the fate of the British living on the continent, Europeans established in the United Kingdom and trade. The rights of one and the other should be preserved. No, a visa will not be useful to travel to the UK. But if Europe institutes a declaration procedure as exists with the United States (ESTA), it is likely that London will require reciprocally the same kind of formality. The United Kingdom does not already belong to the Schengen area, so the formalities should hardly change.
Bertrand: What can European citizens living in the UK expect in the coming months?
The 3.8 million Europeans (200,000 to 300,000 French nationals) living in the United Kingdom will change their status. Those who had until now the automatic right to reside and work in this country must register to "regularize" their situation and acquire the settled status (literally: "installed status"), a kind of residence right designed specifically for Europeans living across the Channel. The agreement signed between London and Brussels provides for registration to take place by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.
Vince: How to interpret this very large victory of the Conservatives?
The victory of the conservatives is politically massive, even if it appears minimal in percentage (+ 1.2% of the votes compared to the elections of 2017). The Tories have won by transforming themselves into "Brexit party" and rallying not only their traditional electorate but part of the Labor electorate of the popular constituencies of the north of England, who have been with Labor for decades. The Conservatives will have the largest majority since Margaret Thatcher in 1987.
The Labor of Jeremy Corbyn, him, wipes its worst defeat since the elections of … 1935. The paradox is however that the total of the votes pro-Brexit (Conservative Party and Brexit Party), which is of 47%, is lower than the total of voice (53%) who went on all the formations favorable to a second referendum (Labor, LibDem, SNP, Greens). Implacable, the single-round British electoral system crushes small parties. If the question of Brexit had been decided by a new referendum rather than by parliamentary elections, the result would have been different. The pro-European camp is a victim of its division.
Lloris: Was the Conservatives' very good score really a popular plebiscite for the party, or rather a reflection of British weariness after three years of a series full of uncertainties?
A bit of both probably. The weariness is extreme and general and Boris Johnson knew how to take advantage of it by hammering his promise, "Get Brexit done". So it's more of a pro-Brexit vote than a partisan vote. The future will tell whether Labor voters in popular constituencies in the north of England who have moved to the Tories will confirm their vote in future ballots.
Patrick: How soon do you think a new referendum can be held in Scotland?
The result of the legislative reflects a surge of independenceist demand in Scotland. By winning 48 of the 59 seats of Scottish MPs (13 more than in 2017), the Scottish National Party (SNP, independence) recorded a clear victory. Shortly after the publication of the results, the Scottish Prime Minister (SNP) interpreted it as a mandate to organize a new referendum on independence after the one of 2014 lost by the separatists.
Boris Johnson – whose green light is needed – has rejected the idea so far but the pressure will increase. But, if the Scots confirm that they are overwhelmingly hostile to Brexit, the switch to independence remains to be confirmed. Many Scots are worried about the border with England outside the EU. This border – Hadrian's Wall – would pose problems comparable to those raised by the border between the two Irish.
Baptiste: In Northern Ireland, has the DUP been sanctioned for managing Brexit?
The failure of the DUP (Northern Irish Unionists) validates the tactics of Boris Johnson who released them during the renegotiation of the agreement with the EU. It reflects a spectacular trend: the question of belonging to the EU begins to take precedence over the community allegiances (Republican or Unionist) in Northern Ireland. The substitution of a Sinn Fein (Republican) MP for a DUP elected representative in Belfast is very symbolic in this regard. Boris Johnson's acceptance of a border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain has infuriated the DUP and is playing in favor of supporters of the reunification of the island. This debate, largely masked, will come back in force.
Parico: Will Sinn Fein go to London?
Most likely not: Republicans, Sinn Fein's deputies do not recognize the monarchy, refuse to swear allegiance to the Queen and therefore do not sit in the Westminster Parliament. Their constituents know this because it is a traditional position that goes back to the partition of Ireland and the Irish Civil War of the 1920s. The advance of Sinn Fein, the only political party to exist both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (attached to the United Kingdom), represents a victory for supporters of the reunification of the island.
arsene: The rout of Labor is also, and probably most importantly, that of Jeremy Corbyn …
The result indeed looks like a personal berizina for Jeremy Corbyn whose left-wing Euroscepticism shaped the party line. Never had the party registered such an execrable result since 1935. The question of its succession will arise very quickly. He did not resign but announced that he would no longer be a candidate in the next elections.
There is no obvious successor. The party will be shaken again by the rivalry between its left wing (which took the lead on the occasion of a change of mode of designation of its leader in 2015) and elected and militant much more moderate close to the ex-New Labor Tony Blair. The defeat in the popular fiefs of the North of England supposes a serious explanation of engraving. The party will have to clarify its position with respect to Europe. Jeremy Corbyn lived on the illusion that Brexit was not the main concern of the British. Labor will also have to position itself against the big half of voters hostile to Brexit and who, surprisingly, remain virtually without a real spokesperson.
Marco: The Brexit now registered, Boris Johnson is it likely to end up in the position of applicant – and therefore of weakness – vis-à-vis the United States and China, who will be able to impose their conditions ?
Its electoral victory strengthens its position vis-à-vis the EU by giving it a clear mandate. But this position is hardly favorable at the outset: it faces a bloc of 27 countries that are more powerful than the United Kingdom and it is contained in a timetable set by the EU which obliges it to conclude a trade agreement. by December 31, 2020 (with possible postponement of one or two years). Free access to the single market or fiscal, social and regulatory divergence from the EU? He will have to choose.
Threatened by the transformation of the United Kingdom into a dumping paradise on their doorstep, Europeans have every interest in keeping the closest links with their neighbor. For their part, everything depends on their ability to remain united.