BELFAST/GLASGOW (Reuters) – The election result was hailed as a victory for English, Scottish and Irish nationalism – and it could spell the end of the United Kingdom.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a Conservative Party event following the results of the general election in London, Britain, December 13, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Boris Johnson’s resounding triumph will allow him to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union next month but it could spell the break-up of the union that has bound England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for centuries.
While Johnson’s Conservative Party swept the opposition aside across much of England on his promise to get Brexit done, Scottish nationalists captured 48 of the 59 parliamentary seats in Scotland.
In Northern Ireland, supporters of a united Ireland won more seats than those in the province who want to remain part of the United Kingdom for the first time since the 1921 partition which divided the British north from the Irish Republic in the south.
Throughout the election campaign, Johnson said he was committed to the union and denied accusations that his Brexit deal would create an economic barrier between the British mainland and Northern Ireland.
“At this stage it does look as though this one-nation Conservative government has been given a powerful new mandate, to get Brexit done and not just to get Brexit done but to unite this country and take it forward,” Johnson said on Friday after winning his own seat in west London.
But opponents said it was Johnson’s appeal to English nationalism with his promise to “Get Brexit done” at the expense of the interests of Scotland and Northern Ireland which had been instrumental in his success.