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Senator expects anti-Russian rhetoric will subside after UK election

The Conservatives’ victory in the snap election to the House of Commons was not sensational, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said

MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. No serious breakthrough is expected in Russian-British relations after the Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, won a majority in the parliamentary polls, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said on Friday.

"Speaking on relations with Russia under Johnson’s conservative parliament, actually, I don’t expect any major breakthroughs, but some sort of calm towards the Russian issue can be predicted," Kosachev said, explaining that traditionally the Russian topic artificially gains the spotlight in the context of elections in the West.

"However, it is not advantageous for the Conservatives in principle because they were suspected of ties with Russia, especially when the data on receiving funds from Russian sponsors was unveiled," Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page.

According to the senator, bilateral relations have hit the rock bottom. After Brexit, London won’t have any commitments to the EU and will be able to pursue its independent and more flexible policy on Russia. "Another question is if it wishes to do this. But in principle, this would be beneficial for post-Brexit Great Britain if it seeks to have a more notable role on the global arena and it is apparently willing to do this," Kosachev said.

The Conservatives’ victory in the snap election to the House of Commons was not sensational, he noted. "All opinion polls before the elections showed that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party had a serious lead over the Labor Party of Jeremy Corbyn and that’s why the only question was whether the winner could get an absolute majority to form the government and fulfill its major goal of the program, namely Brexit. Now it’s clear that they will do it," Kosachev said.

The Russian senator pointed out that the vote outcome showed that "a mandate for leaving the EU has been secured." Britain will see an interim period until January 31, 2020 when it will formally withdraw from the EU, while the actual Brexit will take place on December 31, 2020, which won’t be easy. "They will try to have it both ways - to keep mutually beneficial relations with Brussels but to stay outside the EU’s political and legal framework. Hardly anyone believes they will be able to do this within such a short timeframe," Kosachev said.

Kosachev also noted that it’s symbolic that the leader of Britain’s anti-Brexit party, the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson lost to a member of the Scottish National Party. "The second outcome of this election besides Brexit is a potential ‘Scoexit.’ The First Minister of Scotland, leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon has already demanded that London give the Scottish the right to hold a referendum on the region’s independence given the party’s success in the snap general parliamentary election. So, the Scottish referendum is quite in the cards, and its outcome could differ from the last one, when the supporters of keeping Scotland in the UK won a narrow majority. This was before Brexit, which is now guaranteed," the senator said.

The UK’s ruling Conservative Party secured the majority in the House of Commons, the lower house of the British parliament, in a snap election on December 12. The party led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson has obtained 363 seats out of a total of 650 seats. The simple majority will enable Johnson to approve the text of a Brexit deal, which the British parliament failed to ratify in December 2018. Thus, the UK will be able to carry out Brexit by January 31, 2020. This is the third deadline set for London by Brussels.

The UK was supposed to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, two years after a written withdrawal notice was submitted to the EU. However, the UK has been unable to do this due to sharp domestic political contradictions.