Manchester, News, Politics

Election recap: Britain’s future for the next 5 years was decided in Belfast

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By Harry Spindler


For the second time in seven years, Britain is faced with the issue of a coalition and a minor majority government. Theresa May has lost her gamble to weaken her opposition and gain public support for her mandate regarding Brexit. Seven weeks of campaigning and Britain is now no closer to stability and security than it was prior to the results.

By roughly 6.30 this morning, the BBC had announced that, by the voting patterns, Britain would be hit with a hung parliament leading to the possibilities of either a minority government, in which each policy idea would be needed to pass a vote in Parliament, a coalition, which now seems the most likely, or a second election at some point in the near future. A forecast of 319 seats for the Tories, 261 for Labour, 35 for the SNP and 12 for the Liberal Democrats was in clear correlation to the exit polls prediction of 316 for May and 266 for Corbyn. The Conservatives lost 13 seats from their previous election win in 2015, and Labour grabbed an additional 29 seats in parliament.

In regards to turnout, this election garnered 68.7% of the electorate, an increase on the 66.1% of the 2015 general election, but the crucial increase in turnout was in regards to the voter group 18-24. For the 2015 election, 43% of the 18-24 electorate turned up to vote and the vast majority voted Labour, whilst this year estimates predict the turn out for the age group rocketed to 72% and has shown an increase in interest in the younger voters to get involved.

May is set to create a coalition with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, who won 10 seats in the election, to push the Conservative numbers to 328 and over the line to form a majority. Regarding the DUP as friends of the Conservatives, who have been on the Tories’ side for a long time, this has damaged May’s aims for Britain and more so for Brexit. After her meeting with the Queen at 12:30 today, the Conservatives will be forming a government with the Belfast party and will also need to reshuffle her cabinet after losing eight members of her current set up. With Brexit negotiations set to begin in ten days’ time, May has a difficult job on her hands to not only create a group she can work alongside but also she has to be careful with her stance against Europe. Teetering on a thin line with the electorate, May has very literal leeway as Prime Minister now and must be careful with any recessions she makes in the negotiations next week as well with public policy.

Jeremy Corbyn, whilst still remaining leader of the opposition, will have received much pleasure from the result knowing that, by the next session in Westminster, he will have much more scrutiny against our Government. The Labour leader called for May’s resignation after his election to Parliament regarding her campaign as a “loss of votes, loss of Conservative seats and loss of confidence, it is time to go”, just one of the many party leaders, and even some Conservatives, demanding her resignation. The SNP will, however, be licking their wounds by losing nearly a third of their previous electorate as well as no longer having deputy leader Angus Robertson in Westminster to represent the voice of Scotland. The Liberal Democrats can take pride in their increase in seats. Whilst not willing to help Labour, their independent stance will bode well with their own supporters and those with a keen view on the party.

May’s first address as Prime Minister this afternoon was strongly worded around the Brexit negotiations, distancing from the train wreck that was her election campaign and the actual election itself. Rather she was trying to regain that image of being capable of sitting down at the table with European Commission President Juncker as soon as possible to discuss the best deal for Britain and the EU, an image which has been torn to shreds by nearly every person during and after the election. She clearly seems to understand that the safest bet for herself at the moment is to keep public talking at a minimum and what she does commit to must be short and sweet. After much initial uncertainty, it is now official that the Conservative party have won the election as expected, even if it was in a coalition with a party based in Belfast and not with the landslide which the media had promised. Britain’s future for the next five years was decided in Belfast.

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