Theresa May to form Conservative minority government as shock UK general election results return hung parliament
The British Conservative Party will attempt to form a minority government, after failing to return a majority at general elections yesterday.
Despite losing 12 seats, the Conservatives were the largest party but failure to attain the 326 seats needed for a parliamentary majority resulted in a hung parliament. Theresa May, Conservative leader and Prime Minister has said her party, with 318 seats, will continue to govern, with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party, which returned 10 MPs from Northern Ireland.
The snap general election was called by Ms May in April with a view to increasing the Conservative majority, giving the government a stronger mandate to see through Brexit negotiations with the European Union.
The failure to return any majority was seen by political commentators and British media as a failed gamble by the Prime Minister, with opposition leaders calling into question Theresa May’s suitability to continue to govern.
Labour won in 261 seats, making gains for the first time since the election of Tony Blair’s government in 1997. With London considered a Labour stronghold, the party gained four seats from the Conservatives, including Enfield Southgate and Croydon Central, constituencies with sizeable Tamil populations.
In Kingston and Surbiton, former Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, James Berry lost out to the Liberal Democrats with Ed Davey returning to the seat. However the group’s Labour vice-chair, Wes Streeting, held his Ilford North seat against former APPGT chair Lee Scott, dramatically increasing his slim majority of 589 to 9639.
The Scottish National Party remained the biggest party in Scotland but lost 21 seats, its success heavily diminished in comparison to its 2015 general election performance when it won 56 out of 59 Scottish seats. The SNP also lost key figures such as Angus Robertson, the SNP’s leader at Westminster and Alex Salmond, former party leader and former First Minister of Scotland.
Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland’s Republican party gained 3 seats, totalling 7, although leader Gerry Adams stated that they would maintain their abstentionist policy with representatives foregoing their seat at Westminster as a result of refusing to swear allegiance to the Queen.
Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, gained a seat, totalling 4 seats.
While a significant Liberal Democrat resurgence was predicted, the party gained only 4 seats, with former leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg losing his Sheffield Hallam seat to Labour, in one of the night’s biggest upsets.
The Green Party held its single seat in Brighton Pavilion, with MP Caroline Lucas almost doubling her majority to just under 15,000.
The UK Independence Party (UKIP) lost its only seat, with Conservatives gaining Clacton by over 15,000 votes. The far-right party lost its national vote share by over 10%, faring worse than all other parties, leading to the resignation of leader Paul Nuttall.
Despite what was termed as ‘election fatigue’, with this election coming just a year after the EU referendum and two years after the previous general election, voter turnout was at 68.7% which ITV news reports as the highest in 25 years. With the stability of a minority government being questioned, commentators have speculated that another general election may be held in the near future.
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