The United Kingdom (UK) went to polls on June 8, and the results that came out were surprising. The Conservative Party, led by the current Prime Minister, Theresa May, emerged as the single largest party but was unable to maintain the majority they enjoyed in the previous elections. In 2016, they had won 331 seats out of a total of 650, but this time they could only manage 318 seats. The Labor Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, improved their performance significantly by winning 262 seats as compared to the 232 they won the last time. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Island won 10 seats and if experts are to be believed, they will support the Conservative Party and the UK will once again have a hung parliament.
The purpose of holding early elections was to have a strong mandate and the approval of the people before starting negotiations for ‘BREXIT’. With the incumbent government losing its majority rather than increasing it, the purpose of the ‘snap elections’ has already been defeated. Jeremy Corbyn has asked Prime Minister May to step down as he believes the citizens have rejected her and her policies, but the top leadership of the Conservative Party has no plans of ousting May. Graham Brady, a key lawmaker and a member of the Conservative Party told the BBC: “I think what I’m hearing mostly from colleagues is that there is no appetite for plunging the government and country into a period of turmoil, that we really do want to try to offer some continuity.”
When the snap elections were announced in April, it was believed that it will be a comfortable victory for May and the Tories. But due to the smart tactics deployed by Corbyn and the terror attacks in the UK, May lost her majority. Last month it was Manchester and this month it was London. Both the attacks combined, around 30 people have died and more than 150 injured. Although the Conservatives are known for their tight security, Corbyn very intelligently used May’s six years as the Interior Minister when there were significant cuts in the police forces deployed and linked this directly to the terror attacks, accusing her of not instating strong security measures.
Another row brewed over a proposal made by the Conservative Party, where they talked about making the elderly people pay for social care in their homes. According to a report published in the Guardian, “the wealthier people with more than £100,000 in assets will have to pay for their own elderly care out of the value of their homes, rather than relying on the council to cover the costs of visits by care workers.” However, it would not be the same for those living on a pension. The “pensioners will not have to sell their homes to pay for their care costs while they or a surviving partner are alive. Instead, products will be available allowing the elderly to pay by extracting equity from their homes, which will be recovered at a later date when they die or sell their residence,” the report said. Even the pro-May conservative press branded the idea “dementia tax” that would wipe out the inheritance of the middle classes.
May has announced that she will form the government and the BREXIT negotiations, which are scheduled to begin from 19 June, won’t be delayed. May refused to debate with Corbyn on television and made these elections just about the BREXIT leadership and this did not pan out well for her and her party. Although there will be a hung parliament, the country desperately needs a strong leader in this crucial time and May needs to step up to pull out the UK from this messy situation. With a hung parliament now in place, and the BREXIT negotiations looming large on its head, the UK has moved into a new era of uncertainty.