Was the 2019 General Election a success?

The election held on December 12th 2019 was one of the most important in British history. It was precipitated when the Liberal Democrats and the SNP agreed to support the Conservative government’s call for a general election that was intended to end a parliamentary stalemate over whether and how Brexit should proceed. The outcome – a parliamentary majority for the Conservatives of eighty seats – paved the way for Brexit to be implemented, a step that is widely regarded as one of the most important public policy decisions to be made by the UK since 1945.

In this paper, we assess how successful holding an election was as a way of resolving the Brexit debate. We evaluate the election as an exercise in reaching a democratic decision about the policy debate that occasioned the ballot – that is, did it succeed in ascertaining the majority view on whether and how Brexit should proceed?

Key findings: 





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