On 18 April 2017, the Prime Minister Theresa May called for a snap General election on 8 June, despite previously ruling out an early election. A House of Commons motion to allow this was passed on 19 April, with 522 votes for and 13 against, a majority of 509, meeting the required two-thirds majority. The motion was supported by the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens while the SNP abstained Nine Labour MPs, one SDLP MP and three independents (Sylvia Hermon and two former SNP MPs, Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thomson) voted against the motion.
The general election took place on 8 June 2017. However British Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election on backfired in spectacular fashion as she lost the Conservatives’ majority as Labour made significant gains. Now a Hung parliament has been confirmed after ‘no Tory majority’. As things stood on Friday morning, the Conservatives had won 318 seats, a loss of 12, while Labour had won 261, a gain of 29 And with 649 of the 650 seats now declared, no single party can enough seats for an overall majority as Mrs May failed to secure the 326 seats she needed to form another majority government. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party increased its tally by 31 seats. SNP lose 21 seats, end up with just 35, However an anti-Tory coalition is still not viable without the Democratic Unionist Party.
Each of the 650 parliamentary constituencies elected one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament. In line with the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, an election had not been due until 7 May 2020, but a call by Prime Minister Theresa May for a snap election received the necessary two-thirds majority in a 522-to-13 vote in the House of Commons on 19 April 2017. The Conservative Party, which has governed since 2015 (and as a senior coalition partner from 2010), was defending a majority of 12 against the Labour Party, the official opposition. May had hoped to get a larger majority for the Conservatives to “strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations”.
She will now form minority government backed by DUP(Democratic Unionist Party under The Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster. The DUP is socially conservative and enthusiastically pro-Brexit. Arlene Foster is The former First Minister of Northern Ireland and has served as the leader of the DUP since December 2015. She became First Minister in January 2016 and served until Martin McGuinness resigned in protest at her “cash for ash” scheme in January 2017. Ms Foster also faced accusations of mishandling over an ill-conceived renewable energy scheme which overpaid businesses for using green heating systems, costing taxpayers in excess of £490m.
Some of the opinion polls had shown a twenty-point lead over Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn before the election was called, but this lead had narrowed by the time of the election. In fact, the Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority and the election resulted in a hung parliament. Following the result, the Conservatives entered into talks with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland, whose additional 10 seats could allow for the formation of a Tory–DUP coalition government. Despite remaining in opposition for its third election, Labour saw its greatest share of the popular vote since 2001, and was the first election since 1997 that saw the party with a net gain of seats.
The third largest party, the Scottish National Party, had won 56 of the 59 Scottish constituencies in 2015 but returned with 21 fewer seats. Several of these seats went to the Conservatives, in a reversal of a general trend in other parts of the UK. It was suggested part of the reason was a backlash against Scottish independence. The Liberal Democrats won several seats from the Conservatives and SNP, increasing their seat count. In Northern Ireland, the DUP and Sinn Féin both gained additional seats, capturing all the seats won at the last election by the UUP and the SDLP. Support for the UK Independence Party, which enjoyed a significant portion of the popular vote in 2015, was largely wiped out.
Negotiation positions following Britain’s invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union in March 2017 to leave the EU featured in the election campaign, as did the regular major issues of the economy, education, jobs and the NHS. Following a bombing in Manchester and a terrorist attack in London, leading to temporary campaign suspensions from 23 to 24 May and on 4 June respectively,
National security also became a particularly prominent election issue following Two major terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, which took place during the election campaign, with parties arguing about the best way to prevent such event. May, after the second attack, campaigns focused on global co-operation to tackle Islamist ideology and tackling the use of the Internet by terrorist groups. After the first attack, Labour criticised cuts in police numbers under the Conservative government. Corbyn also linked the Manchester attack to British foreign policy. The Conservatives stated that spending on counter-terrorism for both the police and other agencies had risen. May said that police budgets for counter-terrorism had been maintained and that Corbyn had voted against counter-terrorism legislation.
The Conservative manifesto proposed more government control and regulation of the internet, including forcing internet companies to restrict access to extremist and adult content. Following the London attack, Theresa May called for international agreements to regulate the internet. Conservative stances on regulation of internet and social media have been criticised by Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron, the Open Rights Group and some academic experts on radicalisation, Farron likening them to North Korea and China state surveillance and censorship. On 6 June, May promised longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorism and restrictions on the freedom of movement or deportation of militant suspects when it is thought they present a threat but there is not enough evidence to prosecute them, stating that she would change human right laws to do so if necessary.
The UK’s nuclear weapons, including the renewal of the Trident system, was also prominent during the campaign. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats favour Trident renewal. The Labour manifesto commits the party to Trident renewal, but Corbyn declined to speak in favour of the renewal. He also declined to answer whether, as Prime Minister, he would ever use nuclear weapons if the UK were under an imminent nuclear threat.
Social care became a major election issue after the Conservative Party’s manifesto included new proposals, which they subsequently changed after criticism. The previous coalition government had commissioned a review by Andrew Dilnot into how to fund social care.
The UK’s withdrawal from the European Union was another key issue in the campaign. May said she called the snap election to secure a majority for her Brexit negotiation. UKIP support a “clean, quick and efficient Brexit” and, launching his party’s election campaign, Nuttall stated that Brexit is a “job half done” and UKIP MPs are needed to “see this through to the end. Labour had supported Brexit in the previous parliament, but proposed different priorities for negotiations. The Liberal Democrats and Greens have called for a deal to keep the UK in the single market and a second referendum on any deal proposed between the EU and the UK. The Conservative manifesto committed to leaving the single market and customs union but seek a “deep and special partnership” through a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement. It proposed seeking to remain part of some EU programmes where it would “be reasonable that we make a contribution” and stay as a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights over the next parliament and maintain the Human Rights Act during Brexit negotiations. Parliament would then be able to amend or repeal EU legislation once converted into UK law, and have a vote on the final agreement. Senior Conservatives pro-Brexit MPs including The Brexit secretary, David Davis, were instrumental in pressing for May to call an early poll. Steve Baker, chair of the influential pro-Brexit European Research Group of backbench MPs, also threw his weight behind conservative Prime Minister Theresa May.
With 649 of 650 seats declared, the Tories had 318 seats – eight short of the figure needed to win outright – with Labour on 261, the SNP on 35 and Liberal Democrats on 12. Alex Salmond, Angus Robertson and Nick Clegg lost their sears. However Ben Gummer, the architect of the Tory manifesto, and Jane Ellison, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury Remain. Home Secretary Amber Rudd clung onto her Hastings and Rye seat as did Sarah Wollaston, the MP for Totnes and chair of the Commons health committee. Paul Nuttall, resigned as Ukip leader on Friday.The party has appointed Steve Crowther to the top job on a temporary basis. Mr Arnott, Ukip MEP in the North East of England, praised the job done by party leader Paul Nuttall. Meanwhile The Liberal Democrats made four gains, securing 12 seats in all. However, Nick Clegg lost his Sheffield Hallam seat while Vince Cable took back his old Twickenham seat. Following the General Election Ryan Shorthouse, the director of the liberal Conservative thinktank Bright Blue, which is backed by 140 Tory MPs, has called for May to step down immediately.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn supported the early election, as did Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and the Green Party. The SNP stated that it was in favour of fixed-term parliaments, so abstained in the House of Commons vote. UKIP leader Paul Nuttall and First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones criticised the timing of the election as opportunistic by May, motivated by the then strong position of the Conservative Party in the opinion polls. Former Tory strategist Steve Hilton said Theresa May should be “resigning not seeking re-election”, because her police cuts and security failures had led to the attacks. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn backed calls for May to resign, but said she should be removed by voters .The government announced it intends for the next parliament to assemble on 13 June with the state opening on 19 June. Meanwhile Donald Tusk, the President of the EU Council, said in a letter to Mrs May that there is now “no time to lose” on Brexit negotiations after other senior figures suggested talks could be delayed. Brexit negotiations begin in just 10 days