from-strasbourg-to-stirling:-an-mep-aims-to-switch-parliaments

From Strasbourg to Stirling: An MEP aims to switch parliaments

DRYMEN, Scotland — The woman in the fluffy unicorn slippers is not a fan of Boris Johnson. Or Jeremy Corbyn.

“Honest to God! One’s as bad the other. They’re just nit-picking at each other,” she says on her doorstep in the village of Drymen in central Scotland. She sighs the deepest of sighs when asked about Brexit: “Everybody’s just so fed up with it.”

She’s talking to Alyn Smith, an MEP for the Scottish National Party who’s standing for a seat in the U.K. parliament in this week’s general election.

It’s in constituencies like this that the election will be decided — seats where the previous MP won with a small majority last time around. Stephen Kerr of the Conservatives took Stirling from the SNP by a margin of just 148 votes in 2017.

If the Conservatives can hold onto these seats and overturn their opponents’ narrow winning margins in others, Johnson will win a majority in parliament and push through his Brexit deal. If Johnson doesn’t win enough of these constituencies, a range of other outcomes looks possible, including more deadlock over Brexit or a second referendum.

His pitch is simple: He wants to stop Brexit, he doesn’t like the “Punch and Judy” politics of Westminster and his European experience is an asset.

Stirling also reflects the way Scottish politics has evolved in recent years. The SNP and the Conservatives are now the top two parties, at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the other big issue in this election: Scottish independence.

As rain patters off his bright yellow SNP umbrella,

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