LONDON — There was no hiding the excitement on Monday as new members of Britain’s Parliament descended on the Palace of Westminster for day one of their new lives, most propelled there by the landslide victory of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party.
“Still hasn’t sunk in,” wrote Jonathan Gullis, the new Conservative lawmaker for Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove and Talke on Twitter, “so humbled to have been elected.”
Next stop for the novice Conservative lawmakers was a welcome meeting on Monday night with Mr. Johnson who was expected to flatter them but also instruct them to repay the public’s trust in what he calls the “people’s government.”
The advice from veterans was curt: enjoy the euphoria of the moment, because it won’t last.
The House of Commons has stood at the center of Britain’s political crisis during the last two years, as the government struggled to get its Brexit plan through Parliament while lacking a majority.
Every vote counted and every lawmaker mattered. But with Mr. Johnson’s big new majority things have fundamentally changed. The days when the niche Parliament TV channel could draw more than a million viewers to the drama of knife-edge Brexit votes are over.
New lawmakers are likely to find themselves either part of an impotent opposition or lobby fodder for a government with so many bodies that individuals simply don’t matter.
“Winning a seat for the first time is one of the great moments in life, for most people it is the end of a long cherished ambition,” said Tim Yeo, a former Conservative lawmaker who arrived in Parliament in 1983, after Margaret Thatcher won an equally huge victory. But, if you are part of a very large new intake, what awaits you is a “rude shock,” he said.
“You arrive at Westminster and you are the new boy or girl at what turns out to be a rather bigger school than you thought,” he said. “You suddenly realize the you are a person of the utmost insignificance.”
Undoubtedly, the infusion of new blood will change the complexion and feel of Parliament. Dehenna Davison, the new Conservative lawmaker for Bishop Auckland, for example, worked in restaurants, a betting shop and a casino and lost a job in retail when her employer went out of business.
Significantly, the Conservative Party’s lawmakers now include many, like Ms. Davison, from the north and middle of the country, the so called “red wall” of former Labour Party seats, that fell to the Tories.
Together, their presence could shift the geographical balance of the party’s political focus from the south and from the rural districts — the so-called “shires.”
The problem is that, individually, they will count for very little.
With a large majority behind him, Mr. Johnson can get through more or less any legislation that he wants just as Mrs. Thatcher could in the 1980s, and Tony Blair could after 1997 for Labour.
That does not sideline Parliament completely but it does change the role of lawmaker to people who essentially scrutinize legislation and try to influence government policy by getting their voices heard, often behind the scenes. Select committees, which take evidence and compile reports on policy areas, can be very influential.
“It is extremely unlikely that the government will lose votes in the Commons now,” wrote Catherine Haddon, a senior fellow at the Institute for Government, a research organization, in a blog.
“But members of Parliament can still pressure the government in multiple, different ways: statements in the chamber, departmental questions, urgent questions and emergency debates, Prime Minister’s Questions, and select committee hearings, backbench and opposition-led debates.” she wrote.
Parliament might, occasionally, be able to embarrass Mr. Johnson but not to thwart him. For Conservative lawmakers, there will be little point being troublesome or independent, because that would wreck any chances of promotion. Rebelling against Mr. Johnson would consign them to outer darkness by their party whips, and they would lose any vote anyway.
For opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat lawmakers there is a long fight ahead to revive their parties’ fortunes ahead of the next general election. Power for them is years away, at a minimum.
And the new lawmakers from the pro-independence Scottish National Party arrive with the intention of putting themselves out of a job by helping Scotland to separate from the United Kingdom.
Mr. Yeo predicted that new Conservative lawmakers would find themselves battling for attention against some very ambitious colleagues eager to get onto the first rung of the promotion ladder.
He remembered going from local prominence in the area where he was elected to virtual anonymity in Parliament.
“When you come to Westminster you are in the jungle again,” he recalled, “and few people are more carnivorous than new members of Parliament.”