In one of the most shocking developments in recent British electoral history and what is viewed as a referendum on the 2016 Brexit vote, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Tory Party lost 12 seats in snap elections for control in the House of Commons Thursday.
Election returns as of early Friday morning reveal Tories with a net loss of 12 seats, and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party gaining 29 seats. Detail of Brexit negotiations are set to begin on Monday, June 19
Similarly, the Scottish National Party (SNP) suffered greatly, losing 21 seats; Liberal Democrats gained four seats; and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) gained two seats. SNP’s losses deal a significant blow to Scottish independence efforts, but are a victory for Brexit proponents.
“I’m appealing to (lawmakers) from all parties to join together to try to keep Scotland and the UK in the single market . . . and bring some order to the [Brexit] negotiations,” said SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, who will now try to ally with parties that have similar interests.
Following May’s announcement of snap elections on April 18, opinion polls placed Tories at a 21-point advantage over Labour. In the six-week period following the announcement, two major ISIS-inspired terror attacks occurred handing Labour a powerful weapon to use against May’s leadership.
While the Conservatives will remain dominant party in the House of Commons, Tory losses leave the United Kingdom with a hung parliament. 326 seats are required to maintain a majority in the House of Commons.
Under rules prescribed in the Cabinet Manual, May is allowed to form a new government until Parliament meets on Tuesday, June 13.
Although the Manual specifically states the incumbent government is expected to resign should the ruling party be unable to form a coalition, it has been confirmed May will form an informal alliance with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.
DUP’s 10 seats will give May’s Conservatives enough of an advantage to enable the passage of budget legislation and confidence votes.
Although there is speculation May faces opposition from within her party to stand down from her position as prime minister, the prime minister is scheduled to meet Queen Elizabeth II Friday to ask permission to form a new government.
Urging Mrs. May resign to “make way for a government that is truly representative of this country,” Labor Leader Jeremy Corbyn said:
“(It) is pretty clear who won this election; the party that has lost in this election is the Conservative Party.”
Alex Salmond, a long-serving SNP Member of Parliament from Scotland and Angus Robertson, the Depute Leader of SNP, were both swept away by Tory challengers in Scotland. Nick Clegg, a former Deputy Prime Minister to David Cameron’s coalition government from 2010–’15, lost his seat to Labour.
Despite the Tory losses, May was easily returned by her Parlimentary constituency in Maidenhead with 64 percent of the vote, defeating Labour challenger Pat McDonald.
[BBC] [Globe and Mail] [The Telegraph] [Claudia HQ/YouTube] [Photo courtesy The Independent]