In the wake of a memorable General Election, Richard Heffernan, Reader in Government in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, gives his academic observations on the results:
“The one thing we have not got from this election is a strong and stable government. What we have instead is a weak and unstable minority Conservative government, one propped up by a small, unrepresentative minority party.
Theresa May’s gamble blew up in her face. Her terrible campaign proved her obvious unsuitability for political leadership.
So in spite of winning the most votes and the most seats, this is a considerable setback for the Conservatives.
It seems today like a defeat. Corbyn-led Labour exceeded everyone’s expectations, including their own, seizing Labour’s best vote share since 2001. Nobody, including most pollsters, pundits and politicians, though that such a Labour outcome was possible. What lies behind it needs to be understood. Labour swept places like London.
Now, whilst the political class examine what happened in this election, thoughts turn too to what will happen after the election.
Any Tory minority government, however sustained, cannot remain in office for long. There will obviously be an early election, perhaps in October. And certainly by April next year. The Conservatives cannot go back to the country at an early election under Theresa May. If remaining Prime Minister for now, she has clearly lost the confidence of the country and must surely have forfeited the support of most of her MPs.
Sooner rather than later, there will therefore have to be a new Tory party leader and Prime Minister. There is no the time available for such a leader to be produced under the protracted election rules involving Tory party members. Tory MPs- led by the Cabinet- will have to rally behind one candidate. Someone who is popular, experienced, and who can claim to produce a Conservative majority at an early election. Some may say that the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, could be that party leader.
I myself think it could and should be the Brexit Secretary, David Davis. Whatever happens Theresa May is now only a caretaker Prime Minister. Another political earthquake has rocked the nation. ”
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