For the second time in two years the votes are counted and the result of another UK General Election is in the history books. Truth is most people and pundits felt this was a completely unnecessary election called simply to take advantage of Conservative positioning in opinion polls i.e. 20+ points clear of Labour. The idea was clearly to bury any possible opposition under a hugely increased Tory majority. Another interpretation was that it was run to give the Tories a mandate to clean up a mess of their own making – Brexit.
Prior to voting on Thursday the Government had a slim majority, but a majority none the less with a total of 330 seats. Once the final result had been counted and lodged the party tallies were as follows:
- Conservatives: 317
- Labour: 262
- SNP: 35
- LibDems: 12
- DUP: 10
- Sinn Fein: 7
- Plaid Cymru: 4
- Greens: 1
- Independent: 1
- Speaker: 1
With 650 members, the UK parliament requires one party to have 326 (nominally 322 after you remove Sinn Fein, who don’t attend Westminster, and the speaker) seats to form a Government. As you can see this didn’t happen as the incumbent Tories actually lost seats instead of gaining, which had been the whole purpose of them calling the election.
What does this mean?
Well look down that list and you’ll see a party called the “DUP” with 10 seats. Who are the DUP and why are they important? Well, the DUP are the Democratic Unionist Party who are a Northern Ireland based party. You can read more about them here, and here.
As of me writing this post nothing seems to have been agreed. There is talk of a formal coalition as well as of a looser (but still binding at key moments) “supply and confidence” agreement. However, things are ultimately defined the bottom line is that the Conservatives are having to rely on another party to keep them in power. Also worth pointing out that the leader of the DUP sits in the Northern Ireland assembly. This is something May had previously derided as untenable when Labour and SNP were being talked of in coalition. How times change when needs must.
The vultures are now well and truly circling for Mrs May. It would seem unlikely she’ll survive to see the damage that her deal with the DUP might cause. There are already calls for another election. Whether the British people have the stomach for that, I’m not sure. Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour party are now already ahead in the latest polls – perhaps another reason why we won’t be seeing another election any time soon. Either way politics could be interesting over the coming months, more interesting than Theresa and the Tories would have bargained for in their worst nightmares.
Thanks for reading.