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article imageOp-Ed: Corbyn does well as May's election gamble fails

By Tim Sandle     Jun 9, 2017 in Politics
London - Britain has held its general election and the country has decided that it will not give Theresa May and her Conservative Party an increased majority. Where does this leave the U.K. now?
Theresa May took a major political gamble in April. Coming to power as Prime Minister after David Cameron resigned in the wake of the unexpected Brexit vote (on Britain's membership of the European Union), Theresa May had three more years in office (as allowed under the Fixed Parliament Act). Regarding her Labour Party rival Jeremy Corbyn as weak, she called a snap General Election and went to the country seeking a bigger majority.
May's reasons for doing so reflected tensions within the Conservative Party. Here members of parliament were split between hard-line Brexiters and Europhiles. She thought she could overcome this by having more MPs.
The results of the election show the May strategy to have backfired. The reasons for this are multifaceted. First there was the Conservative Party manifesto which contained policies that were not popular with core Conservative voters (especially with elderly care and the amount that people would be required to pay for themselves). Second was May's refusal to appear in any debate, which attracted various comments ranging for cowardice to aloofness. Third was the Corbyn factor. Never one to appear overly strong or decisive across the dispatch box in parliamentary debates, Corbyn's strengths are in longer, televised interviews. This allows a more balanced approach to come to the fore and for Labour's socially conscious policies to be discussed.
A few more seats are to be counted, but the election results are expected to be:
318 seats for the Conservatives, down 13 on 2015,
261 seats for Labour, up 29 seats,
35 seats for the SNP, a loss of 21 seats,
14 seats for the Liberal Democrats, up six to 14 seats,
Plaid Cymru remaining on three seats,
The Green Party with one seat
UKIP with no seats (down one)
And 18 seats to the parties that contest Northern Ireland.
This means the outcome is a hung parliament, with no party with the 326 seats needed to form a government.
In terms of what the parties stand for, for those unfamiliar with British politics: the Conservative Party is right-wing, often pursuing neo-liberal free market economics; the Labour Party is a left-wing party, which believes in a degree of state ownership and social democracy; the Liberal Democrats are a left-of-center party, with liberal social policies and a tendency to support free markets; Plaid Cymru are a left-wing Welsh nationalist party; the SNP (Scottish National Party) is a left-wing Scottish nationalist party; the Green Party is a left-wing ecology party; UKIP is a far-right conservative party.
So what will happen next? There are calls within the Conservative Party for Mrs. May to resign, although she has signaled to the BBC that she wishes to try and form a minority government. This could involved working with the hard-line Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The DUP are against liberal social policies like abortion and women's rights. Alternatively Labour may seek to form an alliance other parties.
UPDATE: Weakened May to cling on after shock UK election result.The DUP have said they will work with the Conservatives, and Theresa May will attempt to remain in office.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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