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Agencies
December 13, 2019

Britons vote in divisive ‘Brexit election’

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Agencies
December 13, 2019

LONDON: Britain voted on Thursday in a deeply divisive election that posed a historic choice between an imminent split from the European Union or another referendum that could scrap the entire Brexit process.

A decisive victory for Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the third poll in less than five years would almost certainly end Britain’s 46-year involvement in the European project at the end of next month.

The island kingdom would cut ties with its closest trading partners and enter a new era looking to regain the legal controls that Brexit supporters sought in a 2016 vote.

But a win for the opposition could still reverse Brexit and give Britain a hard-left government headed by Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn—a veteran socialist committed to renationalisation and massive public sector spending.

Britons braved winter storms and howling winds as they lined up to cast ballots in what Johnson and Corbyn have both described as the most important vote in a generation. “I think that the government has just been stuck for a long time and we need to get things moving now,” pensioner Naomi Buthe said after casting her ballot in central London.

Johnson voted in London with his dog Dilyn—a furry Jack Russell he picked up and kissed—while Corbyn was greeted at his polling station by supporters and a protester dressed up as the “Sesame Street” character Elmo.

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was joined by her partner Peter Murrell, as well as the SNP’s Glasgow East candidate David Linden, in voting at Broomhouse Community Hall in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire. Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson and her partner Duncan Hames were also out early to vote at a school in Glasgow.

The British pound slipped in afternoon trading in expectation of exit polls at 2200 GMT. The first official results were expected to start coming in an hour later.