Where do the UK’s political parties stand on Brexit? 

Before the General Election December 12th, find out where the UK’s political parties stand on Brexit.

An illustration of two young people talking with question marks around them. The text above reads "How will the election impact Brexit?

What are political parties promising about Brexit?

Everyone seems to be debating Brexit at the moment and, as we get closer and closer to the next General Election, all the political parties are trying to explain to voters how they see Britain’s future relationship with the European Union. But, as Brexit has caused divisions within political parties, with MPs standing down, defecting to other parties, forming new parties and agreeing to pacts in certain constituencies, it can be hard to keep up. Here’s our guide.

Remember this is not just a Brexit election and, if you will be over 18 and old enough to vote on December 12th, you should also consider what else the parties are offering.

The Conservatives

The Tory party lost 21 MPs due to Brexit disagreements, although 10 of those MPs have now returned to the party. The Conservatives are currently offering a hard line Brexit strategy and promise to “get Brexit done”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson campaigned for Leave in the referendum and is still pushing hard for Britain to leave the EU. If the Conservatives win the election, Boris Johnson wants to leave using the deal he negotiated with the European Council.

What else have they promised?

  • Controls on immigration
  • 50,000 more nurses for the NHS
  • 20,000 more police
  • No raises in tax, VAT or National Insurance
  • To reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 2050
  • Build 300,000 new houses a year by the mid-2020s

Labour

If Labour win the election and Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister, they promise to go back into negotiation with the EU and come back with what they call “a credible” Leave option (the implication being the current deal, as negotiated by Boris Johnson, is one that cannot work).

They say they will take six months at most to do this. The country will then be offered another referendum, with voters choosing between remaining in the EU and the new Leave deal.

What else have they promised?

  • To increase the health budget and decrease privatisation in the NHS
  • To raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour
  • To get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2030
  • To renationalise the energy industries, the water supply, Royal Mail, the railways and BT’s broadband service
  • Free bus travel for the under-25s
  • To build 100,000 new council homes a year

Liberal Democrats 

The Libs Dems, led by Jo Swinson, say they will cancel Brexit if they win the election. If they do not gain a majority (i.e., enough votes to win the election outright), then they will support another referendum.

What else have they promised?

  • To add an extra penny to every pound of income tax, with that money going directly to the NHS
  • Free childcare for all children aged between 2 – 4 for 35 hours a week, 48 weeks a year
  • A tax on frequent flyers
  • 80% of British energy to come from renewable sources
  • To recruit 20,000 more teachers
  • To legalise cannabis
  • To freeze rail fares
  • To give a 20% pay rise to workers on zero-hours contracts

Scottish National Party

The SNP, and their leader Nicola Sturgeon, are not in favour of Brexit – a view that aligns with the majority of Scottish voters. They are pro-remain and in favour of another referendum. They would like Scotland to be an independent country and a full member of the EU.

What else have they promised?

  • To hold a referendum on Scottish independence in 2020
  • To increase health spending
  • To scrap the Trident nuclear defence system
  • To bring an end to Government austerity measures
  • To protect the NHS from privatisation
  • To tackle climate change
  • To tackle Scotland’s drug problem
  • To give Scotland control over how it deals with people wanting to migrate to Scotland

Plaid Cymru

Although many Welsh voters supported leaving the EU, Plaid Cymru are pro-remaining and support having another referendum.

What else have they promised?

  • To spend £20 billion on creating “green” jobs
  • To make sure all of Wales’ trains are powered by electricity
  • Free social care
  • A review of the current drug laws
  • £35 a week for children in low-income families
  • £300 million a year to be spent on education
  • No new nuclear sites

Democratic Unionist Party

After the 2017 general election, Northern Ireland’s DUP promised to support the Conservatives in votes in the House of Commons, meaning the Conservatives could form a workable government. The DUP have backed leaving the EU, but are unhappy with the current deal and the plans for a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

What else have they promised?

  • A “12-point plan” to get Northern Ireland “moving again”
  • To leave the EU with no hard Irish border
  • To keep Jeremy Corbyn out of Downing Street

The Independent Group for Change

This party is made up of MPs who left Labour and the Conservatives, partly because they disagreed with their former party’s position on Brexit. They are pro-pro-remaining and for having another referendum.

What else have they promised? 

The Group haven’t published an official manifesto, but say they stand for fairness, truthfulness and long-term planning.

The Green Party

The party are pro-remain and wish to have another referendum. In some constituencies, Green candidates have stood aside to increase a Labour candidate’s chances of winning the seat.

What else have they promised?

  • To invest £100 billion in tackling climate change
  • To invest £6 billion in the NHS
  • To remove fossil fuels from the economy
  • To plant 700 million trees by 2030
  • To build 100,000 carbon neutral homes
  • To scrap tuition fees
  • To implement a Universal Basic Income of £89 a week for all adults
  • To ban single-use plastic

The Brexit Party

The Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, wants to leave the EU without a deal. In some constituencies, candidates have stood down to increase a Conservative candidate’s chances of winning the seat.

What else have they promised?

  • To reduce annual immigration
  • To lift tax on domestic fuel
  • To make sure the NHS isn’t privatised
  • To ban the UK exporting its rubbish
  • To scrap the TV licence fee
  • To increase broadband in rural areas
  • To abolish inheritance tax
  • To abolish interest on student loans

Busting Brexit jargon

The People’s Vote: This is a popular nickname for a second Brexit referendum, mostly used by those who support the idea.

A Clean Break Brexit: a phrase used to describe leaving the EU with no deal in place. It’s mostly used by Brexit supporters.

You can keep yourself up-to-date on events, by reading a variety of newspapers and websites to get a balanced view. You can also visit The Mix for factual breakdowns. If you’re worried about Brexit or find it is making you anxious, read our advice here.

Think we could improve our Brexit content? Take part in our Brexit survey here and tell us how!

Next Steps

  • Here for Good offer free immigration advice to EEA citizens and their non-EEA family
  • Coram's Children's Legal Centre offer legal advice about applying for settled status
  • The EU Londoners Hub is a brilliant resource (not just for people from London!) If you or your family are from the EU you'll find lots of detailed information on their website

  • Find your local Citizens Advice here, for free and independent legal advice. Or call their helpline. 03454 04 05 06
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 06-Dec-2019