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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Johnson urges healing for Brexit-bound Britain

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Johnson urges healing for Brexit-bound Britain
Johnson urges healing for Brexit-bound Britain

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for unity on Friday (December 13) after he won a resounding victory that sets Britain on a fast-track course out of the European Union.

Lucy Fielder reports.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for unity, hours after winning a resounding election victory that reshapes Britain's political landscape and fast-tracks its exit from the EU.

On a promise to 'get Brexit done', his Conservative party trounced opposition Labour with its greatest success since the 1980s, winning 365 seats to Labour's 203.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "I frankly urge everyone on either side of what are after three years, three and a half years, after all, an increasingly arid argument.

I urge everyone to find closure and to let the healing begin." Brexit on January 31st is now inevitable -- and remainers' hopes for a second chance to vote are dead and buried.

But Johnson's next, daunting task is negotiating a trade agreement with the 27-member bloc.

His message clearly chimed with an exhausted electorate more than three years after they voted, by a narrow margin, to leave the EU.

That was most striking in the Labour's so called "red wall" -- once the UK's industrial heartlands in central and northern England.

One of the first of these traditionally working class Labour seats to announce its results was Blyth Valley.

It had never been won by the Conservatives -- but in the early hours of Friday (December 13) morning, they took it.

After that, the red wall continued to crumble -- with left-wing Labour losing scores of seats in its worst result since 1935.

The stage is now likely set for a bruising leadership contest between the socialists in the current leadership and more centrist factions who will demand power.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would, at a later date, be stepping down -- but with passions running high, he's under pressure to go now.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH OPPOSITION LABOUR PARTY LEADER, JEREMY CORBYN, SAYING: "...our National Executive will decide what process we follow then for the election of a successor to me.

But I am quite prepared, and I was elected to do so, to lead the party until that takes place." Someone immediately out of a job is the leader of another opposition party, the Liberal Democrats.

Jo Swinson lost her seat in Scotland as the Scottish National Party surged -- winning 48 out of a possible 59 Scottish seats, an increase of 13.

That result adds weight to their calls for a new referendum on Scottish independence.

And there was another big winner on the night -- the British pound.

It surged 2% against the dollar and the euro as indications came in on Thursday (December 12), and the uncertain gridlock around Brexit came to an end, for now at least.


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