Theresa May’s election gamble failed, but what does this mean for the Government?

The Conservatives have lost their parliamentary majority after only holding 318 seats after the General Election.

Theresa May stood outside 10 Downing Street and announced a snap General Election in order to secure a mandate for her Hard Brexit plan.  May and the Conservatives were sure of achieving an overall majority, even a landslide victory.  This feeling was reinforced by strong polling numbers against the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.  But the election took a different turn, while Theresa May had hoped that the election would focus on Brexit policy, it actually focused on domestic and local issues such as public services, and highlighted the impact of Conservative cuts to these services, which arguably contributed to the loss of their majority.  But with only 318 seats, what impact will this election result have on the Conservative Minority Government?

This result means that the Tories will have to rely on other parties to pass legislation through the House of Commons.  In order to do this the Conservatives may seek a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party.  This means that the Government may have to make compromises with policy, either amending or scrapping planned policies.  This is highlighted by the fact that the DUP do not agree with every Conservative policy, they do not support a Hard Brexit and opposed proposed cuts to the Winter Fuel Allowance.  The minority Government may also make changes and compromises due to pressure from opposition parties such as Labour, and rebels within the Conservatives may also cause the Government to change their policy plans.

Although it is not just party policy that will be impacted by this election result, it also puts increased pressure on Theresa May.  The Prime Minister called the snap election which lost her party their majority, bearing in mind that she previously rejected calls for an early election.  This could lead to a lack of confidence in her leadership, and if she fails to pass legislation, the party could rebel and seek new leadership.  May could also lose the support of backbenchers and become vulnerable to party rebels.  The future is uncertain for Mrs May’s political career.  Will she still be Prime Minister by 2020?  Or even by the end of 2018?

If anything can be said about the politics of 2017, it is that most things are uncertain, and the future of the Conservative Party is no exception.  We need to watch and see what impact this election result has on the Conservative Party, and Theresa May.


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