Setback for May
In a significant development in the United Kingdom, the Conservative Party led by British Prime Minister Theresa May failed to establish a majority in the House of Commons following general elections on June 8. It comes as a blow to May, as her decision to call for an early snap election in April was guided by polls which pointed to a massive majority. Such an outcome, she claimed would help Britain make a smooth exit from the European Union.
She has apparently misread the situation, leaving the United Kingdom in a less certain position and possibly with lesser leverage as it begins to negotiate the terms of its exit from the European Union. Her opponent, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who surprised many by leading them to significant gains, described the outcome in possibly the harshest terms possible. "The Prime Minister called this election because she wanted a mandate," he said.
"Well the mandate she's got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support, and lost confidence." There is a definite element of truth in these assertions. Nonetheless, as the largest party in the House of Commons, May has decided that she will form a government with the support of the Democratic Unionists to provide "certainty" for the future. How much certainty can she ensure, when she leads a minority government? Voices of dissent in her party also leave her vulnerable, if she attempts to pass legislation. The election results indeed prove her political instincts were out of sync with reality.