The June 2017 election was the election everyone lost. The Conservatives lost their majority, Labour lost a little better than they did in 2010, the SNP lost twenty-one seats, and the Liberal Democrats made little breakthrough. Now we are left with a Conservative minority government propped up by the DUP, with a prime minister who has received the opposite of a mandate.
The Conservatives may have won the election, but Theresa May has certainly lost it.
Nevertheless, the Prime Minister was right to call this election. She was right that with the turmoil of Brexit and the upcoming negotiations with Brussels, Britain needs strong and stable government to steer it through the difficult times ahead. Strong government is what Britain needs and, because this election did not deliver what is needed, that is why, now more than ever, there must soon be another. Britain needs another general election this year.
In February 1974 Edward Heath called and lost a snap election. In the resulting hung parliament, Harold Wilson’s Labour beat the Conservatives by four seats and, after several frantic days trying to cobble together a deal with the Liberals and the Ulster Unionists, Heath resigned. Wilson re-entered Downing Street after a four-year absence following his own snap election humiliation, but as a minority government the situation was precarious. In September, Wilson announced another election to be held the following month and, in October, Labour managed to just scrape to victory with an overall majority of three. The Conservatives should follow Wilson’s example and Britain should once again head to the polls later this year
The outcome of an October 2017 Election is by no means certain. Jeremy Corbyn should no longer be under-estimated, but it is also quite possible that the Corbyn surge has reached the ceiling of its success. Labour ran a good campaign and Corbyn is a veteran campaigner, but Theresa May put on a lacklustre performance at the head of a shambolic campaign devoid of any enthusiasm. If the Conservatives are still returned as the largest party on 42% of the popular vote with the robotic May at the helm, can Corbyn’s Labour ever realistically hope to oust them from Downing Street against a new leader possessing even just an ounce of charisma? The likelihood of an October election remains a Conservative majority victory, but if he can, Corbyn will have the opportunity to surprise us all over again.
Untangling ourselves from the European Union and forging a new relationship with our partners in Europe and across the globe is a task of supreme importance and supreme difficulty. Getting it right is essential for our future prosperity and there will be hard choices. Now is not the time for minority government but that is what 8th June has given us. That is why another election must soon be called.
Britain must have a government with a clear mandate, now more than ever. So the Brexit talks should be put on hold, Mrs May should step aside and a new Conservative leader be chosen. Then the British people should once again be given the chance to choose whom they wish to govern them. Theresa May has been rejected, that is clear, but Jeremy Corbyn has not been endorsed. To break that deadlock, and for the good of the country at this crucial time, there must be another election in 2017.
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