Sunday 24 September 2017

Theresa May's plan backfires spectacularly: Five things we've learned from the UK election 2017

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

As dawn breaks across the UK, people are waking up to a thunderstorm. Here is what has happened while you were sleeping.

1. Theresa May's gamble has backfired spectacularly:

She promised "strong and stable" government going into Brexit negotiations but as the election results flood in it looks like the UK is set for a period of flux and uncertainty.

The writing was on the wall from early in the night after an Exit Poll predicted they would win 314 seats and the Labour Party 266.

Later Sky predicted that the number of the Conservatives would be between 315 and 325. After winning her seat in Maidenhead Theresa May promised "stability" in goverment. But her body language and the polls are telling a very different story.

Shortly before 6am it was confirmed that the Conservatives could no longer gain a majority and so there will be a hung parliament in the UK.

Mrs May's only positive from the night is that the Conservatives have made some gains in Scotland where the SNP has lost a number of seats.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has put pressure on May to resign but, according to PA sources, the current PM said she has "no intention" of stepping down.

2. Jeremy Corbyn has energised a young vote:

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Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, reacts at a counting centre for Britain’s general election in London. REUTERS/Darren Staples
 

The much maligned Labour leader took a massive personal vote of 40,086 in his London constituency of Islington and in his victory speech he called on Theresa May to step down as Prime Minister.

He said politics is "not going back into the box where it was before".

"What's happened is people have said they have had quite enough of austerity politics, they have had quite enough of cuts in public expenditure, underfunding our health service, underfunding our schools and our education service and not giving our young people the chance they deserve in our society."

In an attack on Mrs May he said: "The Prime Minister called the election because she wanted a mandate.

"Well the mandate she has got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence.

"I would have thought that's enough to go, actually, and make way for a government that will be truly representative of all the people of this country."

The overall turnout is approximately 66 per cent - up 4pc on 2015. it is believed that this is largely down to an increased youth vote.

3. Northern Ireland holds the keys to power

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Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams arrives at the Titanic exhibition centre in Belfast where counting is taking place in the 2017 General Election. Niall Carson/PA Wire
 

With neither party reaching the necessary majority it now falls to Mrs May and Mr Corbyn to try and form a coalition government.

The Liberal Democrats have repeatedly said they will not go into coalition. The Scottish National Party took a kicking in the election and are unlikely to side with the Conservatives.

This means that Theresa May must now look to Northern Ireland to make the crucial 326 majority.

Up North it is has been a big night for Sinn Féin after they won a further three seats to bring their total to seven. The SDLP and the UUP now have no seats in Westminster.

SF President Gerry Adams confirmed early in the night that they will continue their policy of abstention and they will not be taking their seats at Westminster.

Mrs May is then left with the DUP to shore up support.

Arlene Foster's party has taken ten seats in the election (holding eight and winning one from the UUP and a second from the SDLP) and this may be enough for the Conservatives to seize power.

It now waits to be seen what this will mean for those living in Northern Ireland where the assembly has still not been formed.

4. Scottish Nationalism has taken a hammering

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The Scottish National Party (SNP) has taken heavy losses in the election with Alex Salmond among the most high profile losses in the election.

The party is predicted to lose 22 seats in the election bringing it down to 34, according to the exit polls.

The Conservatives and Labour both made gains in Scotland. The SNP remain the largest party in the country but with a diminished number Nicola Sturgeon must now regroup.

5. UKIP now has no MPs

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After the high of Brexit UKIP has suffered lost all its seats in the UK parliament. The party has won just 3.89pc of the overall votes so far.

Its leader Paul Nuttall came third in the Boston and Skegness constituency, trailing both Labour and the Conservatives by a huge margin.

The party got less than 5 per cent of the vote in many of the seats declared so far, meaning it will lose the £500 (€569) deposit all parties must pay to field a candidate.

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