U.K. History - from Blair to Johnson 2

U.K. History: from Blair to Johnson Part II


On September 18, 2014, 55.3% of the voters in Scotland voted against Scottish independence in a referendum. In the aftermath of the failed independence referendum, Prime Minister Cameron announced a far-reaching constitutional reform aimed at increasing the power of the Scottish regional parliament. Numerous British politicians had promised the Scots greater autonomy if they remained with Great Britain before the vote.

According to Mathgeneral, the Conservatives were able to clearly win the general election on May 7, 2015. With 330 seats in the lower house, they achieved a narrow absolute majority. The previous coalition partner of the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, lost 49 of 57 seats. The opposition Labor Party also suffered significant losses and only won 232 seats (2010: 258). The election for the Scottish National Party, which was able to move into the lower house with 56 members (2010: 6), was very successful. The right-wing populist United Kingdom Independence Party won 12.6% of the vote, but due to the right to vote, the party only received one mandate. With an absolute majority in the back, Prime Minister Cameron could Put together a purely conservative cabinet that adopted a more restrictive social and labor market policy course. After his party’s electoral defeat, the top candidate and leader of the Labor Party, E. Miliband, announced his resignation. In the primary election in September 2015, the representative of the left wing of the party, J. Corbyn, prevailed as the new party leader by a clear margin.

Before the general election in 2015, the Conservatives had promised to hold a referendum on whether the country would remain in the EU if it won the election. The main aim was to isolate the EU opponents within the party. On May 28, 2015, the newly elected government introduced a corresponding law into the House of Commons. In the referendum on June 23, 2016, a majority of 51.9% voted for a Brexit. Subsequently, Cameron, who had campaigned to remain in the EU, announced his resignation as Conservative leader and Prime Minister. Interior Minister T. May won the intra-party competition for his successor. She was appointed Prime Minister on July 13, 2016 by the Queen.

The May government concentrated on preparing to leave the EU. The House of Commons authorized the government to initiate the relevant procedure on February 8, 2017, and the House of Lords followed on March 13, 2017. Prime Minister T. May announced that Parliament was not unified in relation to the upcoming Brexit negotiations on April 18, 2017, early elections for June 8, 2017. For this she received the required two-thirds majority in the lower house. The election campaign was temporarily suspended after an Islamist suicide attack on a concert hall in Manchester, in which 22 people were killed on May 22, 2017. Another terrorist attack with an Islamist background left 8 people dead on June 3, 2017 in London. On March 22, 2017, 5 people had already been victims of an Islamist attack there.

In the general election of June 8, 2017, the Conservatives missed an absolute majority with 317 seats (326 of 650 seats). Labor became the second largest force with 262 seats. The Scottish National Party (SNP) won 35 seats, the Liberal Democrats sent 12 MPs to the lower house, and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) won 10 seats. The incumbent Prime Minister T. May continued her work at the head of a minority conservative government that was supported by the DUP on the basis of a tolerance agreement dated June 26, 2017.

After May repeatedly failed to get the Brexit agreement negotiated with the EU through parliament in London, she announced her withdrawal from the party leadership on May 24, 2019. The chairmanship is traditionally linked to the office of head of government.

Johnson was elected chairman in a primary election with more than 66% of the vote by members of the Conservative Tories. His opponent Jeremy Hunt (* 1966) received less than half of the votes. On July 24, 2019, Johnsohn was appointed Prime Minister by Elizabeth II and the Brexit hardliner then reaffirmed the promise to leave the EU on October 31, 2019. The next day Johnso n appointed his renewed cabinet, made up of hardliners from “Brexiteers”.

However, Johnson lacked a majority in parliament for the treaty negotiated with the EU in October 2019. This changed with the new elections held on December 12, 2019, from which his Conservative Party emerged as the clear winner. On January 22nd, 2020 the Brexit Act was finally passed by the British Parliament and signed by Queen Elizabeth II the next day. After approval by the EU Parliament (January 29, 2020) and the final approval of the remaining EU states (January 30, 2020), Great Britain was able to leave the EU on January 31, 2020.

In the Northern Ireland conflict, the IRA did not renew its ceasefire until July 1997. On 10.4.1998 the British government reached in cooperation with the Irish Government a peace agreement ( “Good Friday Agreement,” Good Friday Agreement) for Northern Ireland with the participation of the conflicting parties there, who were able to implement the agreements only slowly (despite clear approval by referendums in Ireland and Northern Ireland on May 22, 1998). In December 1999 a Northern Irish regional government was constituted (suspended from February to May 2000 due to the dispute over the disarming of the underground movements, especially the IRA). New differences in the interdenominational Northern Irish regional government led to a further suspension of self-government in October 2002. In May 2003 the British and Irish governments tabled a new peace plan for Northern Ireland. In the elections to the Northern Irish regional parliament in 2003 and 2007, the radical parties with the DUP and Sinn Féin each won through, but in particular the IRA’s officially declared renunciation of violence (July 28, 2005) and the recognition of the Northern Irish police and judiciary succeeded Sinn Féin (2007) a new dynamic in the peace process. Under massive pressure from the British government, the former archenemies DUP and Sinn Féin agreed to form a Northern Irish all-party government. In 2010 the police and judiciary were taken over by the Northern Irish government (further development: Northern Ireland Conflict).

U.K. History - from Blair to Johnson 2