Johnson ran on the promise that a Tory win would mean he would get parliament to ratify his deal for leaving the European Union, meaning Britain will leave the EU by Jan. 31.
Socialist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn had campaigned to make a new deal with the EU within three months if Labour won. The deal would then go to a nationwide referendum in the next six months, essentially letting voters decide if they’d rather back a revised deal or choose to remain in the EU.
With Labour’s plans out of the picture, and despite Johnson’s ‘Get Brexit Done’ slogan, Darrell Bricker, president of Ipsos, said the path forward for Brexit is still not entirely clear.
“It’s not like Boris Johnson actually campaigned on a clear plan for Brexit,” he said Thursday evening, speaking with Global News from London, England.
“He’s now got the process of negotiating what this is all going to mean over the space of the next several months.”
Brexit was put to a vote in 2016, triggering three years of uncertainty over how the country would exit the 28-state EU, of which it had been a member for decades.
The British public likely doesn’t have a large appetite for more uncertainty, Bricker said.
“What’s clear is that whatever the logjams of parliament were previously, the public has spoken and they’re not going to have much tolerance for not moving ahead speedily, I would say,” he said.
What comes next is the “actual process of negotiating what the deal is going to be.”
“If anybody on the European side, for example, thinks that Mr. Johnson doesn’t have a strong hand, they would be wrong,” Bricker said.
Mel Cappe, a former Canadian high commissioner to the U.K., doesn’t have high hopes for Brexit, which he firmly says “won’t be done for a decade.”
A Tory majority essentially triggers negotiations in 2020 between the U.K. and the EU for a new trade deal, he said.
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“That’s going to be total chaos and uncertainty,” he said. “And I would be shocked if they had a deal between now and then.”
Patrick Leblond, a professor at the University of Ottawa and an expert on international relations and economics, says a Tory majority means there likely won’t be a “Brexit reversal.”
“The issue is, and I don’t think it’s being settled, is whether it’s going to be a hard or soft Brexit,” he said.
A hard Brexit would be one in which Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal.
Sure, a majority win means the Conservative Party doesn’t need anyone else’s help, he said. But this snap election hasn’t exactly resolved the issue of the transition deal.
“There’s still a split as far as I can see within the Conservative Party between the hard and soft Brexiters,” Leblond said.
So while the election shows that a majority of British voters want to leave the EU, little else is clear.
“It certainly indicates that … at least there is large support for Brexit,” Leblond said. “And they think that the Conservatives are the best to deliver Brexit.
“But I don’t think there is an agreement on what kind of Brexit people want.”
— With files by Kerri Breen, The Associated Press