By Roman King | UK
May’s plan to reassert Tory dominance over Brexit negotiations has been left in tatters, as the Conservative Party lost their absolute majority in the U.K. snap elections last night.
In an extremely embarrassing result for May’s Tories, the Conservative Party lost 12 seats and ended the night with 318 seats, dipping below the 326 seats necessary to hold absolute control in Parliament. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party made substantial gains, earning 31 more seats and ending with 261 seats. The Scottish National Party suffered greatly, losing 19 seats and shrinking to a modest 35 seats. The Liberal Democrats gained 3 seats to hop up to 12 seats, but it was not without loss — former Deputy Prime Minister and Party Leader Nick Clegg lost his seat in Sheffield Hallam constituency to Jared O’Mara from the Labour Party. The most important number from the small party results is that of the Democratic Unionist Party, however. The Ulster-based centre-of-right party gained 2 seats to tick up to 10 seats, putting them in the position of kingmaker. The DUP, under the leadership of Arlene Foster, will form a minority government with the Tories, keeping Theresa May in 10 Downing Street — at a heavy cost.
May’s failure to secure the dominating Conservative majority that was intended by the snap election has brought scathing criticism from all sides of the aisle. Paul Nuttall, current UKIP leader, said that May’s failure “has put Brexit in jeopardy.” Jeremy Corbyn himself has called for May’s resignation, saying that she should “go and make way for a government that is truly representative of this country.” Even other Conservative backbenchers and ministers are putting May on a knife’s edge this morning; former Conservative minister Anna Soubry said that May should “consider her position” and take responsibility for a “dreadful” campaign and a “heavily flawed manifesto.
The Conservative Party’s failure to extend, or to even maintain, an absolute majority, is a political failure and a surprise the likes of which haven’t been seen in recent time. As Article 50 Brexit negotiations loom over the horizon, Prime Minister Theresa May will have to overcome criticism and her own minority government to put Britain in a Tory-centred Brexit.