It was not long ago UK Prime Minister Theresa May and the Conservative party called for an early election. The Conservative party held a parliamentary majority before the election, but desired a larger ‘clear’ majority so the party would have a mandate to push their preferred version of Brexit. May has described her Brexit vision as one that limits future immigration and trade with the European Union.
Theresa May and the Conservative party were shocked by the election results which revealed the Conservative Party’s loss of 13 seats and the Labour Party increase of 31 seats. The election is thought to have made PM May vulnerable to attack from internal critics opposed to her ‘hard Brexit’ plans.
The Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, won ~40 percent of the vote compared to the Conservatives 42 percent. The party’s success is said to be largely due to an appeal to enthused younger voters and previous non voters.
May’s joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill resigned recently after facing criticism from various officials who say they played a significant role in the party’s poor election performance. The pair are said to have functioned in a ‘pretty dysfunctional’ manner, hindering capabilities.
Not long after the election ended with a hung parliament, May announced the formation of a minority government; with the permission of the Queen. The alliance formed is with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a right wing regional party located in Northern Ireland. The DUP is expected to support May in the key vote needed for her to remain Prime Minister. The 10 seats the DUP holds in Parliament are critical to the Conservatives, however have been described as having the potential to be unreliable down the road.
I will now form a government, a government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country. This government will guide the country through crucial Brexit talks that begin in just 10 days and deliver on the will of the British people by taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union,” May said.
With no clear majority, and even more division in Parliament, it will be much more difficult for the Conservative party to pass any major priorities of theirs on any issue; be it economic, social policy, or foreign. The agenda put together by the Conservatives is expected to be largely stalled and the vision for a hard Brexit fading.
“As I reflect on the result, I will reflect on what we need to do in the future to take the party forward. I am sorry for those candidates and hardworking party workers who weren’t successful but also particularly sorry for those colleagues who were MP’s or ministers who had contributed so much to our country and how lost their seats and didn’t deserve to lose their seats,” May said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel wasted no time in reminding British Prime Minister May about the need to quickly get through the upcoming Brexit negotiations. The EU has reiterated their interest to hold discussions as scheduled in nine days, with EU council president Donald Tusk shrugging off May’s suggestions the talks potential for delay.
“First we have to agree on the divorce and exit modalities, and then we have to envisage the architecture of our future relations. I do hope that the result of the elections will have no major impact on the negotiations we are desperately waiting for,” head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said.
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