'This Is Incredible,' Says Corbyn, as Voter Registration Surges Amid Boris Johnson's Chaotic Lurch Towards UK General Election
Labour Party politicians and pro-democracy groups celebrated Wednesday as more than 100,000 people reportedly registered to vote in a 48-hour period this week amid mounting chaos in the U.K. government in anticipation of a possible general election in October.
On Monday, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced harsh criticism within his own party, about 52,000 people registered, followed by more than 64,000 on the following day.
Nearly 60 percent of the newly-registered voters are under the age of 35, giving hope to the Labour Party that the surge in registrations is closely linked to widespread outrage over Johnson’s push for the U.K. to leave the European Union by the end of October, with or without a deal.
“No-deal Brexiteers’ greatest fears are new voters and young voters,” tweeted actor Rob Delaney, who lives in the U.K. and is a vocal critic of the Tory Party and Brexit.
As Common Dreams reported, Johnson is rapidly losing the confidence of lawmakers following a 329-300 vote in Parliament on Wednesday rejecting his no-deal Brexit plan. On Thursday, his brother Jo Johnson announced his resignation, saying the prime minister’s singular focus on pulling the U.K. out of the E.U. with no regard for how it would impact the country’s economy had caused an “unresolvable tension” between family and politics.
Conservative MP Philip Lee also defected on Tuesday, joining the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons as the prime minister was speaking and leaving Johnson with a minority. According to polling, a majority of British voters oppose a no-deal Brexit.
Experts on voter turnout say the surge in registrations could be partially linked to students who are registering in new locations as they begin school, but the high numbers reported on Monday and Tuesday—compared with the average daily registration of 27,000 in recent weeks—gave hope to the critics of Johnson’s plan and leadership.
“This is incredible,” tweeted Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, urging Brits to vote in the potential general election that could follow the defeat of a no-deal Brexit.
A general election could come on October 15, and the surge in registrations comes weeks ahead of the September 27 deadline.
Meanwhile, the #StopTheCoup movement, whose petition to keep Parliament from being suspended has gathered 1.7 million signatures since it was released on August 15, has far exceeded the threshold needed for Parliament to debate the petition. Lawmakers will discuss the demands on Monday.
Dozens of #StopTheCoup demonstrations are planned in cities and towns across the country in the coming days, including at least 17 on Thursday. More than three dozen events are planned for Saturday, including protests in Germany, France, and the Netherlands as well as in Britain.