Friday 22 September 2017

Has May's snap election gamble backfired?

Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip leave after casting their votes in the General Election at a polling station in the village of Sonning, Berkshire. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip leave after casting their votes in the General Election at a polling station in the village of Sonning, Berkshire. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

David Hughes

Theresa May's gamble of calling a snap election looks to have backfired spectacularly, according to an exit poll which indicates she could lose her Commons majority.

The Prime Minister's decision to go to the country three years ahead of schedule was based on a desire to secure a stronger position ahead of the crunch Brexit talks set to begin within days.

But the poll suggests the Tories will lose 16 of the 330 seats they held at the end of the last Parliament, while Labour gains 37, the SNP loses 20 and the Liberal Democrats gain five.

Other prime ministers who have called snap elections have achieved mixed results.

Harold Wilson's decision to call an election in October 1974 came after having returned to Number 10 in February that year as the leader of a minority government.

The Labour prime minister improved his position slightly achieving a majority of just three.

Mr Wilson's decision to go to the country in 1966, 17 months after a narrow victory in 1964, resulted in a decisive victory for Labour and a majority of almost 100.

A setback for Mrs May along the lines suggested in the exit poll would put her in a similar position to Clement Attlee, the Labour premier who went to the country in 1951 having won a slender victory in 1950.

His premiership was ended with the return of Tory Sir Winston Churchill to Number 10.

Press Association

Editors Choice

Also in World News