wnol.info July 23 2018

The UK's 'Hung Parliament' and what it means for Brexit

July 23 2018, 05:54 | Jonathan Williams

Despite being freshly re-elected prime minister Theresa May is fighting to keep her job

Despite being freshly re-elected prime minister Theresa May is fighting to keep her job

European Union leaders expressed fears that May's shock loss of her majority would delay the Brexit talks, due to begin on June 19, and so raise the risk of negotiations failing.

Don't just look at the results from Britain's polls that had Theresa May's Conservatives coming in at number one ahead of Jeremy Corbyn and Labour - the real winners and losers are far more interesting.

British newspapers summed it up in a word: Mayhem. "We will fulfill the promise of Brexit", she said, speaking outside her official residence in Downing Street after receiving permission from Queen Elizabeth II to seek to form a new minority government. "I don't think Theresa May is a give up and go person", Patrick Dunleavy, professor of political science and public policy at LSE, says.

The exit poll predicted May's party would not win a majority of the 650 seats in parliament to take office alone, meaning she would have to form a coalition or attempt to govern with the backing of other smaller parties.

The third largest party in Parliament, the Scottish National Party, lost 19 seats in the election. "Regardless of the question of who will form a government in Britain, time is ticking".

The Conservative leader had called Thursday's snap election in a bid to extend her majority and strengthen her hand in the European Union divorce negotiations, but her gamble backfired spectacularly. Even if she stays, it'll be tougher for her to get things done.

Cutting a deal with the DUP, which won 10 seats, may not be straightforward.

The British Conservative Party leaders have made some seriously dud calls of late. Her real reason was likely that she wanted to strengthen her own position, and that of the Conservative Party, by picking up additional seats in Parliament. When voters stunned him and Europe by voting to leave, he resigned, leaving May to deal with the mess.

The election had been classified as a "Brexit election" and the result is being seen as giving hope to the 48 per cent who had voted to remain in the European Union in the June 2016 referendum and a rejection of Mays so-called "hard Brexit" stance.

Rachel Sheard, who cast her vote near the site of the London Bridge attack, said the election had not gone as expected - and that it certainly wasn't about Brexit. But it would at least give them what May never would until now: a real chance to choose the kind of Brexit they want.

In the Conservative Party, recriminations were immediate and stinging.

"Honestly, it feels nearly like she is nearly not aware of what has happened in the last 24 hours", Conservative lawmaker Heidi Allen told LBC radio.

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"I reject all of those views personally, but the Tory party doesn't have a choice in order to get a majority", he said.

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said he hoped there would be no further delays, and that the result of the United Kingdom general election would not have a "major impact on the negotiations we are desperately waiting for".

"Politics has changed and this is people saying they have had quite enough". Support would need to be mustered for each parliamentary vote.

"The young have a bad deal", said Ben Page, chief executive of pollster Ipsos MORI. "They must not be sold out by Theresa May and the Conservatives as they try to cling to power with the DUP".

The results confounded those who said Corbyn was electorally toxic. While he was demonized by conservative newspapers, on Facebook Corbyn was trending.

Turnout for the election was 68.7 per cent, up 2.6 per cent from 2015 but down 3.5 per cent on the Brexit referendum.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said May should resign.

She insisted that she would stick to the Brexit timetable.

To be sure, by last month, I had come around to the conventional wisdom that May's Conservatives would win. As election results became clear early Friday morning, May called for a "period of stability" during the country's challenging times. She was criticized for a lackluster campaigning style and for a plan to force elderly people to pay more for their care, a proposal her opponents dubbed the "dementia tax".

It's unclear what role the attacks and their aftermath played in the election result.

"And I don't feel like the current prime minister or, indeed, the Tory party, has any idea about what to do with Brexit at the moment".

But British voters, it is now clear, weren't fooled. "Instead of strong and stable leadership we witness chaos and uncertainty", he said, mocking May's campaign slogan.

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