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Get ready for tough poll, UK MPs told

By Julian Shea in London | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-31 09:49

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the House of Commons in London, on Oct 30, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Conservative members of Parliament that the upcoming general election on Dec 12 will be "a tough election and we are going to do the best we can".

His statement came at the same time as independent data was published revealing that his plans for taking the country out of the European Union will cost the country 70 billion pounds ($90.2 billion) over the next decade.

On Tuesday, MPs in Westminster voted to have an election, the third in four years, in the run-up to Christmas to try to break the political deadlock over Brexit.

Having encountered problems getting parliamentary support for his Brexit deal in the same way that his predecessor Theresa May did, Johnson is hoping that a shake-up of MPs will come off in his favor, allowing the completion of the political process that has dominated British politics since June 2016. However, some pundits predict people's opinions are so entrenched that it could result in another hung Parliament.

John McDonnell, shadow chancellor in the main opposition Labour Party, said the election will not just be about Brexit, but also issues such as austerity and public services. But with the Liberal Democrats having positioned themselves as an anti-Brexit party, and the Scottish National Party's hopes of possible independence for Scotland closely linked to Brexit, it is hard to see how it will not be the dominant issue.

At one point, it looked like the end of October might see the United Kingdom leave the 28-member EU in a so-called no-deal Brexit, without any legislative or regulatory framework to replace the Europe-wide agreements it would be leaving, but then after much speculation, Johnson did manage to strike a deal with EU leaders.

Critics said it offers the country an even worse deal than the one May negotiated, which was rejected by Parliament three times. As a consequence, Johnson's deal was never even the subject of an up-and-down vote by MPs, which seems to have exhausted Johnson's patience with the current Parliament.

As Johnson prepares to announce the election, figures published by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research have detailed the economic impact of his deal, which it concluded would see GDP reduced by 3.5 percent in 10 years' time.

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