Another UK Electoral Surprise

Posted by Speakeasy News > Saturday 10 June 2017 > In the News

The UK General Election that was supposed to consolidate the Conservative majority has a resulted in a hung parliament: no one party has reached the 326 seats needed for an absolute majority. The sitting Conservative government has asked the Queen to form a government with the backing of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party.

The Conservatives have lost 12 seats and find themselves 8 short of a majority. Prime Minister Theresa May visited the Queen at Buckingham Palace, then announced she was seeking to form a government with the backing of the DUP. It seems that this will not take the form of an actual coalition, unlike David Cameron's 2010 Conservative government which was a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Instead, the DUP will support the government on a vote-by-vote basis.

It's a long way from the "strong and stable government" Mrs May promised during the campaign, or the strong Brexit negotiating position she was hoping for.



The devil, as they say, is always in the detail. The Conservatives actually won 5.5% more of the votes than in the 2015 election, but lost 12 seats. Labour meantime won 9.5% more votes and was rewarded with 29 more seats. That's the vagaries of the First Past the Post system that mean that where a party's votes are cast counts more than how many votes they receive overall. Once again, regional parties like the Scottish Nationalists and the Democratic Unionists received high numbers of seats for relatively low numbers of votes, because their voters are concentrated in specific areas. The Liberal Democrats won more than twice as many votes as the SNP, but less than half the seats.

And the Winner Is…
The real winner of the election was the Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn. Doomsayers had written the party off before the campaign, expecting them to reach an all-time low. Instead, they have bounced back with 29 extra seats, and will be a serious threat to the minority government.


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