At 10 pm Thursday night, major news organisations in the United Kingdom revealed their side of the exit polls which showed that the Conservatives were the largest elected party in Britain but they did not have the majority and hence could not form the government.
As a result, the Palace of Westminster had yet again seen a ‘hung parliament’ but this time the Tories had a hard time to find an ally to form a coalition. With a minimum requirement of 326 seats, the Tories could get 318 with opposition Labour at 261.
This snap election was announced by Theresa May in March and had seen quite a few surprises during the campaign period. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of opposition Labour party had announced some major promises in the manifesto like scrapping university tuition fees, increasing the minimum wage to £10/hour, increasing funding for the National Health Service etc.
The youth voters undoubtedly got swayed to this attractive option and soon the gap between the Tories and the Labour had begun to reduce in the polls. The show did not end there, the leaders now had to answer the public’s questions and this is where it all started to turn around. While Mrs May called for the elections, she refused to take part in any face-to-face debate against her opponents and this had done a lot of damage to her campaign with voters around the country criticising her for not speaking up.
While all other parties had their respective leaders take part, the Conservatives had Home Secretary Amber Rudd as their representative in the BBC Debate in Cambridge on May 31. She came under fire for her leader not being present and the party changing their manifesto.
Soon after the debate, three terrorists struck the heart of the capital killing eight people and injuring several others. The question of security and policing was raised after May had said she planned to reduce the number of officers.
Reports suggested that some Labour supporters did not trust Corbyn as their leader and hence voted Tories. But this could not do much harm as they had a really good run with a majority in major metropolitan constituencies in London, Birmingham – West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Liverpool – Mersyside etc. and other places with a vast density of the young population.
There were calls for May to step down but she stood firm by her position and declared that she will not resign and went to form a coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party, the leading party in Northern Ireland who held 10 seats and together formed the majority with the Tories.
The first result was announced at 11 pm on Thursday of Newcastle Upon Tyne central where Labour’s Chi Onwurah won with a margin of almost 15,000 votes. The Labour party may not have won the elections but it can be argued that they did their bit by avoiding the Tories a full majority.
Soon after the official results came out, many expected there to be a change in the leadership with Foreign Secretary and the former Mayor of London Boris Johnson tipped to become the next prime minister but that did not happen. May later announced on Friday that the cabinet will remain the same as it was.
Amongst all other things, the Sterling Pound saw a dip against the US Dollar and the Euro right after the polls and with Brexit looming over everyone’s heads, there is a lot of work to be done. It is assumed that the Brexit negotiations with the EU will begin on the set date of June 19 and Brexit Secretary David Davis will be heading the discussions along side May.
It is surely going to be a difficult road ahead for May and with a strong opposition, there are going to be many hurdles for her.