If everyone has a mandate… surely nobody has a mandate?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In his victory statement to the media, Boris Johnson asserted that, “...we will get Brexit done...delivering on the democratic mandate of the people” (Source: BBC news online). Surrounding Boris during his victory statement, the Conservatives proclaimed in logos that they were ‘The People’s Government’. Later the same day, Boris’s media message from Number 10 had strengthened to “an overwhelming mandate from this election to get Brexit done” (Source: BBC news online). With 365 seats out of 650 the Conservatives had captured 56% of the seats. Presumably ‘The People’, who had voted 52% in favour of Brexit, were now 56% in favour of the ‘get Brexit done’ Conservative Party. However, the mandate for Brexit derived from 37.4% of the total electorate voting for leave in 2016, and the mandate for the Conservatives in 2019 was even worse at 29.3% of the total electorate. Moreover, the EURef2 poll of polls (source: whattheukthinks.org) suggests that average support for Brexit (2016 to 2019) is 53% remain versus 47% leave. So where is the mandate from ‘The People’?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUK Election Analysis 2019
Subtitle of host publicationMedia, Voters and the Campaign
EditorsDaniel Jackson, Einar Thorsen, Darren Lilleker, Nathalie Weidhase
Place of PublicationPoole, UK
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-910042-23-6
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2019


  • mandate
  • elections
  • politics

Cite this