British election: What would a UK Conservative majority government do?

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at the House of Commons in London, Britain, on Oct 30, 2019.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at the House of Commons in London, Britain, on Oct 30, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - An exit poll has predicted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives will win an outright majority in Thursday's (Dec 12) election with a total of 368 seats.

If that is correct, here is what to expect from a majority Conservative government:

BREXIT BY JAN 31

Mr Johnson has promised to bring back to Parliament before Christmas the legislation required to ratify his exit deal with Brussels and ensure it is passed by the end of January.

All Conservative candidates have signed up to the deal, so it is expected to have a relatively smooth journey through Parliament, as opposition parties will not have the numbers to defeat it or make changes to it.

NO EXTENSION OF TRANSITION

After Jan 31, Britain will enter a transition period during which it will negotiate a new relationship with the EU27.

This can run until the end of December 2022 under the current rules, but the Conservatives made an election promise not to extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020.

If they fail to hammer out a new trade deal by the end of 2020, a deadline trade experts say is unrealistic, Britain could effectively be facing a disorderly no-deal Brexit again.

BUDGET IN FEBRUARY

The party has promised to hold a post-Brexit budget in February, boosting spending on domestic issues such as the health service, education and police.

IMMIGRATION

The Conservatives plan to introduce an "Australian-style" points-based immigration system. They have promised to reduce overall immigration numbers. In particular, there will be fewer low-skilled migrants.

Under the new system, which will treat EU and non-EU citizens the same, most immigrants will need a job offer to come to Britain.

There will be special visa schemes for migrants who will fill shortages in public services or who are leaders in fields such as science and technology.

 
 
 

GOVERNMENT BORROWING

Finance Minister Sajid Javid has said he will rewrite the country's fiscal rules so he can spend an extra £20 billion (S$36.4 billion) per year over the next five years, raising borrowing for infrastructure to 3 per cent of economic output from its current 1.8 per cent.

TRADE

Mr Johnson's party has said it wants to have 80 per cent of UK trade covered by free trade agreements within three years.

It plans to prioritise agreeing deals with the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.