LONDON (Reuters) – After all the arguments and all the mass marches, opponents of Brexit faced a stark truth on Friday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s election landslide: there will be no second referendum and divorce from Europe is inevitable.
With the Conservatives set to win their largest parliamentary majority since 1987, Johnson will be able to push his divorce deal through parliament, allowing Britain to leave the EU next month.
It will be Britain’s most significant geopolitical move since World War Two.
Some supporters of another Brexit vote blamed themselves for the crushing defeat. The main organisation campaigning for a second referendum imploded, while the leader of the main opposition Labour Party was ambivalent, pledging to stay neutral in any other vote.
“I am distraught, and like everyone else in the remain community wish we had more competent representation,” said Mike Galsworthy, an anti-Brexit campaigner, who was sipping a whisky before going to bed after seeing the exit polls come in.
The 2016 referendum on EU membership has been the most polarizing issue in recent British history, crystallising divisions between cities and towns, young and old, the winners of globalisation and those left behind.
For many pro-Europeans in Britain, another referendum represented the best chance of ending the turmoil and political paralysis. If they had united into a single political force, they may have stood a chance of overturning the result.
In addition to their own shortcomings, so-called “remainers” were outmanoeuvred.
Over the past three years, support for remaining in the EU has led in almost every opinion poll, prompting some of the largest street protests in modern British history. Parliament twice forced Brexit to be delayed.
But the main opposition parties failed to work together to forge a functional cross-party alliance,