The Tories are in shock over a Hung Parliament.
Lack of clear winner raises questions about Brexit and prime minister Theresa May’s future.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn calls for May to resign, but isn’t that like the tail wagging the dog?
Jeremy Corbyn said the face of British politics has changed and called on Theresa May to resign after her snap general election left Britain with a hung Parliament 11 days before Brexit talks begin.
Speaking as he was returned as MP for Islington North, the Labour leader declared: “Politics has changed. Politics isn’t going back into the box where it was before. What’s happened is people have said they’ve had quite enough of austerity politics.”
The former chancellor George Osborne described it as a “catastrophic” result while another Conservative MP said: “She needs to go.”
A minister admitted there would be “fury” within the party among those who did not believe an election was necessary.
A difficult night for the SNP delivered one of the biggest scalps, with the party’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, losing his seat in Moray.
The former Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, spoke out about the need for the government to be sensitive about huge societal divisions as he was defeated by Labour in Sheffield Hallam.
Holding on to his seat with a big majority, the Labour deputy leader, Tom Watson, said. “It looks likely to be a very bad result for Theresa May. She said: ‘It is a fact that if we lose just six seats, we will lose our majority and Jeremy Corbyn will become prime minister.’ We do not yet know the final result, but we intend to hold her to that.”
What Happens Next?
The final results are still not in, but Labour has no chance of winning, and reportedly the conservatives have no chance of an outright majority.
Conservatives will have a shot at putting together a coalition, but party leadership is in doubt. Should Theresa May stand down, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, and Brexit Secretary David Davis are obvious possibilities. The UK politics reporter for Bloomberg also mentions Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.
Theresa May will give a speech at 10:00 AM London time. Until then, and possibly even after then, speculation and confusion are the names of the game.
I suspect May will hang on, at least for a while. Then politicians do what they do, stay on and on until they are voted out.
DUP to the Rescue?
The key lies in the 18 other. The Democratic Unionist Part (DUP) also known as Northern Irish Unionists won 10 seats.
The Democratic Unionist Party, whose controversial policies include blocking gay marriage, could hold the balance of power in the new Parliament.
The Northern Irish party is likely to be the Conservatives’ first port of call as they look to form a government without a majority. And it is likely to support the Tories as they attempt to do so.
If they manage to become part of the government and hold it up, however, they may be able to introduce the kinds of policies that have become controversial in Northern Ireland.
That has included moves by the party to oppose the introduction of same sex marriage in Northern Ireland, as well as lifting the ban on abortion. Those laws have been in place across the rest of the UK, but the DUP has helped block them in Northern Ireland in recent years.
Leader Arlene Foster all but confirmed that the DUP would never join a coalition with Labour. She said that she had “always said” the party would find it hard to work with Jeremy Corbyn.
It takes 326 for a parliamentary majority. If the Tories hang on with 318, then 10 votes from DUP will put them over the top, but barely.
Given that DUP has ruled out working with Labour, it appears only one workable coalition is possible.
What will DUP demand of Theresa May? Will that constitute a different form of tail wags dog?
Mike “Mish” Shedlock