UK’s Snap-Election Results in a Hung Parliament
Prime Minister Theresa May not be seen hanging out around Britain’s parliament in the near future, not with the results of the United Kingdom’s snap-election resulting in a hung parliament—meaning that in the election, not one single political party won the majority of votes that could grant them full governing authority.
The snap-election was held on this week and much of the focus was on Prime Minister Theresa May, representing the Conservative Party, and Jeremy Corbyn, representing the Liberal Labour Party.
Up until a week before the actual voting in the election took place, polls showed May with a massive lead.
In July 2016, when the Brexit vote passed, former Prime Minister David Cameron stepped down from his role as Prime Minister. Theresa May succeeded Cameron in the position of Prime Minister and had every right to serve a full term that would end with a new election in 2020.
At first, May was adamant that she would not hold a reelection but her need for support in parliament changed her mind.
Her hopes to gain more seats in parliament came with the approaching task of implementing Brexit, or Britain’s exit from the European Union (the EU.)
It was apparent that May looked to gain more Conservatives in parliament to help her control the way Britain left the EU. As a Tory, it was May’s goal to completely and immediately sever Britain’s ties with the EU, an idea that Corbyn and the Labour party campaigned heavily against.
With 360 seats available for grabs in the House of Commons, a party would have needed to win 326 of those seats in the snap-election to gain complete ruling authority in parliament.
The Conservatives ended up 318 seats and the Labour Party wound up with 262 seats.
Meaning neither party won the majority, thus neither party has the ability to take absolute control over parliament. Not only did Theresa May’s party not win the majority of seats, but the Conservatives lost 13 of the seats they had before the election and the Labour Party gained 32 seats.
This is a devastating result for Prime Minister May, as the election was an unnecessary option that ended up costing her party seats and popularity in parliament. The loss of Conservative seats in parliament cost 13 Conservative representatives’ their jobs.
Although May plans to continue as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the Conservative Party, she will need to rely heavily on the Democratic Unionist Party for support within parliament. The Democratic Union Party received 10 seats in the snap-election and combined with the Conservative Party’s 318 seats, together the two parties could rule as one majority.
“What the country needs more than ever is certainty and having secured the largest number of votes and the greatest number of seats in the General Election it is clear that only the Conservative and Unionist Party has the legitimacy and ability to provide that certainty by commanding a majority in the House of Commons,” said May following the election.
The current Prime Minister may, however, be “expected to resign if it becomes clear that it is unlikely to be able to command that confidence and there is a clear alternative,” according to the Cabinet Manual, the basic guidelines for the British government.
So if it is argued that there is an overall anti-Conservative majority in parliament, then May could be removed from office and replaced by Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Liberal Labour Party. The fact that the Labour Party gained 32 seats while the Conservative Party lost 13 could plausibly lead to Corbyn becoming the next Prime Minister. Although British political experts believe that scenario is implausible.
With the deadline for coming up with Brexit strategy growing nearer, the rest of Europe waits to see who will prevail as the Prime Minister.
If May remains and the Conservatives align with the Democratic Unionist Party, as currently planned, then it is likely that free trade and immigration between Britain and the EU will end.
If parliament decides that there is an anti-Tory majority and Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister, free trade and immigration will likely prevail between Britain and the EU.
What is good for the rest of Europe, in terms of free trade and immigration, may not be as kind to America.
Corbyn made it incredibly clear during his campaign for the snap-election that he is not an advocate for President Donald Trump.
“Waiting to see which way the wind blows in Washington isn’t strong leadership. And pandering to an erratic Trump administration will not deliver stability,” said Corbyn.
If May remains as Prime Minister it is likely that a positive working relationship will remain between the United Kingdom and the United States. Since the reelection results were revealed, President Trump already called May to congratulate her and confirm that the two would work to keep a cooperative relationship between the two great nations.
It may be in America’s best interest to keep a Conservative Prime Minister in charge in Britain, as President Trump continues to isolate himself from many of his fellow world leaders.
President Trump has described America’s relationship with Germany as “very bad” and Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, has not been shy in sharing her distaste for President Trump.
Meanwhile, President Trump’s admitted admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised eyebrows both within and outside of the United States as many question whether Russia manipulated the U.S. election in President Trump’s favor. Putin is not favored throughout much of Europe.
President Trump’s recent refusal to keep America in the Paris Climate Accord, an agreement among 195 nations to strive to manage and slow the effects of global warming, gained him the disapproval of many international leaders.
Those who spoke of their disappointment in President Trump’s decision to ignore the importance of global warming included Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, and the British Prime Minister Theresa May.
President Trump’s congratulatory call to May about her continuing in her position as Prime Minister hint that he has moved passed any contempt that may have been caused by her expressing her disappoint in regards to the Paris Climate Accord.
While Prime Minister Theresa May controlling the specifics of Brexit could cause social and economic repercussions to both Britain and the E.U., May could wind up being President Trump’s only continued to ally in his consistently volatile term as president.
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