British Prime Minister Boris Johnson used the launch of his Conservative Party platform to claim that his is the only party in next month’s election that will complete the Brexit process.
Unlike any other party standing in this election, we are going to get Brexit done, he told supporters while waving his party’s printed platform, which was unveiled Sunday. Johnson said the rival parties — the Liberal Democrats, the Labour Party and others — would only bring more delay and eventually betray the will of voters as expressed in the 2016 vote in favoring of leaving the European Union.
Johnson spent more time ridiculing opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn than offering details about the plans laid out in the party platform, poking fun repeatedly at Corbyn’s plan to remain neutral if a second referendum is held next year.
Johnson promised to bring his Brexit deal back to Parliament before Christmas, with passage likely assured if the Conservatives win a majority in the Dec. 12 vote. He said that would enable his government to get Britain out of the EU by the Jan. 31 deadline while other parties would slow the process down for months or stop it altogether.
Brexit was really the sole focus of his party’s platform loss. Johnson is trying to keep the focus on Brexit policy, while Corbyn’s Labour hopes people will look at a broader range of issues, including funding of the National Health Service and restoration of cuts in public services.
The Conservatives, leading in most opinion polls and mindful of a series of problems that followed the party’s platform launch in 2017, took a cautious approach Sunday, declining to outline a rash of new programs that might spawn controversy.
The prime minister instead stayed on familiar ground, blaming the outgoing Parliament for the failure to make Brexit happen by the last deadline at the end of October. The 2016 referendum, which saw 52% of British voters choose to break with Europe after decades of integration, was followed by difficult negotiations with the EU that eventually led to a divorce deal — but one that was rejected in Parliament and then renegotiated by Johnson.
The prime minister says that will change if his party wins a majority, because each of the party’s candidates has agreed to back the deal.
His repeated promise to “get Brexit done” will be much more difficult if he doesn’t win an outright majority as other parties plan to slow Brexit down — or halt it altogether. Johnson revealed the party’s campaign plans at an event in the West Midlands, where the Conservatives hope to make inroads with traditional Labour Party voters unhappy with the opposition party’s Brexit stance.
Johnson called the election more than two years early in a bid for a parliamentary majority that would back his Brexit plan before the Jan. 31 deadline.
All 650 seats in the House of Commons are up for grabs.