UK Left Hails Election Result, Experts See No Change in Ties

By Kevin McCandless | July 7, 2008 | 8:17 PM EDT

London ( - As news of the Republican Party losing control of the House of Representatives spread in Britain Wednesday, anti-war activists hailed the outcome as a victory for their cause.

Speaking from the House of Commons, left-wing Labor Party lawmaker John McDonnell said that the results showed the need for a change of direction in Iraq.

"Just as in Britain, people in the U.S. feel that they have been ill-advised, misled, and ignored," McDonnell said. "With the death toll in Iraq mounting on a daily basis they are saying enough is enough."

McDonnell, who is campaigning to replace Prime Minister Tony Blair when he retires as Labor leader within the year, said the election results showed that Britain was now completely isolated over the war.

Columnist Martin Kettle of The Guardian wrote on the liberal newspaper's website Wednesday morning that the American public had endorsed a change of policy for President Bush - one which the rest of the planet had been waiting for.

"The cheering can be heard not just in America itself but around the planet," Kettle said.

British experts said they thought it unlikely the election would have a dramatic effect on the policies shared by the two nations.

Michael Cox, professor of political science at the London School of Economics, said he also did not expect a change in the dynamics between Blair and Bush.

"I don't think it's going to have a great impact on the relationship," Cox said. "The relationship is set and has been set for a long time now."

While Britons were engaged in a debate over how closely they should follow U.S. foreign policy, the governments of the two countries were still committed to the fight against Islamic extremism, he said.

"The broader issue of the war on terror has not gone away, and it won't go away for a long time," Cox added.

Todd Landman, a lecturer at the University of Essex, said the results may bode well for Chancellor (finance minister) Gordon Brown, widely tipped to succeed Blair when he steps down.

With the Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, Brown would have increased leverage when it came to dealing with the White House, he predicted.

"What it'll do is that the next generation of leaders will find an easier time in relations with the United States," Landman said.

"If Gordon Brown becomes the next prime minister, I think he'll find more sympathetic elements [in Washington] that he can work with," he added.

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