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Braving winter storms, Britons vote in divisive ‘Brexit election’

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds his dog Dilyn as he leaves a polling station, at the Methodist Central Hall, after voting in the general election in London on December 12, 2019.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds his dog Dilyn as he leaves a polling station, at the Methodist Central Hall, after voting in the general election in London on December 12, 2019.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

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Polls show Conservatives leading by a narrow margin.

Britain voted on December 12 in a deeply divisive election that posed a historic choice between an imminent split from the European Union (EU) or another referendum that could scrap the entire Brexit project.

A decisive victory for Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the third poll in less than five years would almost certainly end Britain's 46-year involvement in the European project at the end of next month.

But a win for the Opposition could still reverse the Brexit process and give Britain its most leftist government in decades, led by Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran socialist committed to renationalisation and massive public sector spending.

Britons braved winter storms and howling winds as they lined up to cast ballots in what Mr. Johnson and Mr. Corbyn have both described as the most important vote in a generation.

Opinion polls show Mr. Johnson’s ruling Conservatives leading by a narrow margin.

But they were almost unanimously wrong about the last general election in 2017 and Mr. Johnson said the outcome rested on a “knife edge”. “Just imagine how wonderful it will be to settle down to a turkey dinner this Christmas with Brexit decided,” he said in a final message to voters.

Brussels has indicated that Mr. Johnson’s plans to secure a comprehensive trade deal before a December, 2020 deadline is unrealistic. That would again raise the prospect of Britain facing a no-deal scenario that plunges business and the British economy into fresh uncertainty.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 4:51:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/braving-winter-storms-britons-vote-in-divisive-brexit-election/article30288992.ece

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