U.K General Election - How Did We Get Here and What Happens Now?

What an election! It started off for the Conservatives with a 24 point lead over Labour. Jeremy Corbyn was considered to be "unelectable" even by members of his own party and the media left no stone unturned calling him "weak" and even went so far as to call him a "terrorist sympathiser". Many saw this for what it was, calling it a "smear campaign".

The polls lead us to believe May would be walking off into the sunset (through a field of wheat) with a majority vote. Several newspapers endorsed her including the Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Sun and the Daily Mail.

Yet, here we are with a hung parliament. What was expected to be a sure thing for May became a sure nightmare and Labour Party members that had previously tried to remove Corbyn are now eating their hats.

It's nice to know we, the electorate, can teach the establishment something from time to time.

So, here is a look at what could happen next and how we got here. 

What Happens Next

In order to form a government, you need 326 seats. The Conservatives won 318 seats and are just short of a majority.  The Labour Party won 262 seats (up by 30 seats) and didn't quite make it either.

The Conservatives are now looking to the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party from Ireland) to make up their numbers (the DUP has 10 seats). May will be spending her weekend negotiating a deal to ensure their support but has ruled out a formal coalition with the party. In this situation, the DUP is sitting in a strong position and can demand the conservatives back their interests and policies. They are the king makers. 

To form a government a Queen's speech must be put forward. This outlines the government's plans and intentions and will take place on the 19th of June. At this point, members of parliament will vote on whether they agree to the plan set out or not. Members of the Conservatives and DUP also vote, so it's unlikely that the proposed government will get a vote of no confidence but technically, they will only have a majority of 6, so anything could happen.

If the Conservatives and DUP get a vote of no confidence then it falls on the Labour Party to try and form a government. To do that this they would need to get the support of the SNP, Greens, Lib Dems and Norther Ireland Nationalist parties but a 5-way party agreement is unlikely. 

If the Labour Party can't form a government then another election will have to be held.

How Did We End Up Here

This election has highlighted how divided the U.K is on many issues. Votes were split between Brexit supporters vs remainers, Scottish independence voters vs those who believe in the U.K union and the left vs the right. All of these split views are taking place on the backdrop of E.U negotiations, the potential impeachment of the U.S president, terror attacks and immigration fears. 

The last time we were faced with a situation like this was in 1974 when a snap election was called and a hung parliament resulted in a Labour minority government. The Norther Ireland conflict was at its peak in 1974 - 1975 and there were frequent terror attacks by the IRA on the U.K mainland. Meanwhile, in the U.S the Watergate scandal had led to the resignation of President Nixon. E.U membership was also a hot topic in politics at this time. The Conservative Prime Minster Ted Heath had brought the U.K into the European Community in 1973. The Labour party was against E.U membership and in the 1974 election promised voters a referendum on the issue. 

The Result then was also a hung parliament. The Labour Party managed to form a minority government at the time but later that same year another election was called and this time the Labour Party managed to form a majority government by 3 seats. 

Could the same thing happen with the 2017 election? Only time will tell, but with E.U negotiations coming up and no formal coalition, it definitely leaves parliament open to instability. 


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