Gráinne Ní Ghréachaín, Editor.
After calling a snap election over seven weeks ago, The Conservative Party led by Prime Minister Theresa May failed to win a parliamentary majority in the election. The party won 318 seats out of 650 in total, but needed at least 326 for a clear majority, resulting in a ‘Hung Parliament’ whereby there are no parties in majority and neither party can form a government on their own.
In an effort to increase her majority and secure her party, May’s snap election, has certainly came back to bite her with The Conservative Party losing their majority. The Labour Party gained 29 seats, and become the second largest party with 261 seats.
What does this mean for the future of the United Kingdom?
With neither of the two major parties securing a majority, there are few options available in this period of instability and uncertainty in the UK.
A coalition government could be on the cards as the largest parties may try to form a government with the smaller parties such as the Democratic Unionist Party, Liberal Democrats or the Scottish National Party or through the confidence and supply system. While there is no official time limit for when matters should be resolved, with BREXIT talks just 10 days away, the parties will be determined to come to a prompt agreement.
In relation to how Northern Ireland fared out, it was a triumph for both the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin. Of the 18 MP seats available, the DUP won 10 while Sinn Féin, not far behind, won 7. The final seat went to Independent Unionist Lady Sylvia Hermon, a former member of the Ulster Unionist Party. It was certainly a night of disappointments for both the Ulster Unionist Party and the Social Democratic and Labour Party, who both lost their previously obtained seats.
With both The Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron urging May to resign, tensions are high and divisions are mounting. Corbyn stated that “She [May] wanted a mandate. Well, the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that is enough for her to go.’’
One thing is for certain, May’s decision to call a snap-election backfired, leaving the country in further confusion and frustration at this unpredictable time. In an attempt to strengthen her party she appears to have succeeded in doing the opposite. Only time will tell how UK politics will pan out and who will be left hanging.