Good evening from London and welcome to a special U.K. election edition of Axios World. We've got 1,500 words (5 minutes) on Boris, Brexit and more.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Today was supposed to be Brexit Day — deal or no deal, "do or die" — but instead it’s the dawn of an election campaign that could determine whether Brexit happens at all, not to mention who’ll be leading the U.K. for the next five years.
The big picture: Still just three months in as prime minister, Boris Johnson is gambling everything for a parliamentary majority that will allow him to, per his constant refrain, “get Brexit done.” As he studies the electoral map, Johnson might see a path to victory that President Trump would recognize.
Will Tanner, director of the center-right Onward think tank, made a contribution to the British political lexicon this week: “Workington Man.”
James Johnson, Theresa May's former pollster, tells Axios the "million dollar question" is whether Johnson can convince enough people who voted for Brexit, but never for the Tories, to back the Conservatives in December.
The buzz: I spoke to a dozen or so close observers of this election this week — parliamentary staffers, consultants, political journalists — and three things came up in just about every conversation.
2. The Liberal Democrats
3. Nigel Farage's Brexit Party
What to watch: I called him today to find out. He told me he had "nothing to say" until a press conference tomorrow morning.
Trump and Farage in Mississippi. Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Farage did have time for another American caller tonight, on his LBC radio program.
What he's saying: "I know that you and him will end up doing something that could be terrific. If you and he get together, it's an unstoppable force. And [Labour leader Jeremy] Corbyn would be so bad for your country," Trump said.
"Boris and I have a great friendship. When he was running they were saying, 'He's the Trump, he's the Trump.' We have a lot of the same things going, I guess."— Trump
The latest: Corbyn has already accused Trump of "trying to interfere in Britain's election to get his friend Boris Johnson elected," a potentially potent line of attack given Trump's unpopularity in the U.K.
Stuck in the middle, at the London Olympics.
Voting intention (FT poll tracker):
How those favoring each party voted in the 2016 referendum (Pew):
Likelihood of outcomes (Electoral Calculus):
What to watch: Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party (SNP) all favor a second referendum. They could potentially join together on that platform in the event of a hung Parliament.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
A stream of senior Conservative members, some who’ve held top Cabinet jobs, have announced this week that they’re stepping aside.
Nearly all have one thing in common: They voted against Brexit in 2016.
It's not just about Brexit. One of the most senior MPs to exit, Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan, cited the “abuse” she and her family had faced.
My morning commute this week. Photo: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images
The latest Brexit extension takes the prospect of an economically calamitous "no deal" Brexit off the table until Jan. 31, but businesses remain in a state of very expensive limbo.
Why it matters: "It is hugely costly, in terms of money but also in terms of effort and energy. So much has been put into this process and into emergency 'no deal' planning that could have been used in other areas," says Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation.
What to watch: “The big worry I have is we have an inconclusive election, and where does that take us? We can’t just keep going on this treadmill where no progress is made.”
The bottom line: McGuinness is confident London will remain a global financial center after Brexit. But she worries that the economic pain that comes along with it will make it even harder to "put back together this rather fractured society."
Bercow will go down in effigy. History too, no doubt. Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Best known in the U.S. for bellowing "order, order" at rowdy MPs, Speaker John Bercow presided over the House of Commons for the final time today.
One thing that changed under Bercow was Parliamentary vocabulary. He unleashed dozens of words not employed by any previous speaker for at least a century, according to a BBC tally.
Then, of course, there's the word with which he'll always be associated.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
"I've been watching her interviews, I've seen it, and she's been taking it very personally. I guess you've got to be a little bit different than that."— Trump on Meghan Markle, who has spoken about being hurt by negative press coverage