Is the UK heading back to the Polls?

There is a lot of talk of a yet another election in the near future. However how likely is this? We take a look at some of the events which will impact on this.

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Boris Johnson – A potential leadership candidate?

Leadership Challenge


The Conservative Party , is one of the most successful and ruthless political machines in western politics. They often harbour Regicidal tenancies, and no leader is safe. However due to the situation they find themselves in with a resurgent Labour Party and a Minority government, who wound want to stick their political career on the line, for what looks like a bleak situation.

For all the bluster of Boris, there is no clear successor to the role.

A leadership challenge will likely be on hiatus. No potential Tory leader would want to risk going back to the polls against Corbyn after the last showing. Most likely they will wait until the brexit negotiations are nearly done, then if this is received badly by the population the new leader can place the blame on Theresa May and then look to distance themselves from the outcome. At this stage they may decide to go back to the polls.

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Students queuing to vote at the UEA

Students


There has been a lot of talk about the youth vote in the election, however this is anecdotal at the moment, however results such as Sheffield Hallam and Canterbury do support the theory that there was a larger turnout in this group, and that they predominately supported Labour.

This is something that will play on the mind of whoever the Conservative leader, especially since there are now 45 marginal seats that could swing from Conservative to Labour, with a small percentage swing. Any vote that call could be cynically done to try and mitigate the impact of this group. If an election was called for a date at the end of August or early to middle September, this would spread the student vote wider rather than concentrate it in the University towns, potentially mitigating their impact.  It also could potentially disenfranchise a number of them, as they may have to re-register due to living in new areas and not be able to do this in time (registration date would likely close during the summer period)

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Clegg & Cameron

Fixed Term Parliaments


The fixed term parliament act was brought in by the coalition ConDem government of 2010, in order to provide stability, and avoid Zombie government limping on in the last year of their term. It was also a brought in, to try and avoid each party looking to undercut the other and triggering an election.

The irony of this is that now that we have minority government, we may be stuck with a zombie parliament, as the mechanisms to remove it, are not as simple as before.

The wording of the act is specific that confidence motions have to be tables, and what used to be deemed confidence measures, such as budgets/queens speech no longer apply.

There are two ways to trigger a change in government.

  1.  A vote of no confidence. This requires a simple majority, however if a counter motion is approved within 14 days, nothing happens. In theory if the opposition can form a government they would take over the reins without an election.
  2. A super majority of 2/3rds votes for an election. This was how the snap election was called in the first instance. The 2/3rd is of the 650 seats, not of voters present, no does it account for any vacant seats.

If the government is defeated on a no confidence motion, the numbers don’t stack up for either party. which means that if the Torys cannot gain enough support from other parties within the 14 day window parliament would be dissolved for an election.

alliances

The issue is, even if they lose the support of the DUP, it would require pretty much a combined effort of all the remaining parties to pass this motion.  Even if ta party managed to get this motion through, there would still be a window of 14 days where a motion of confidence could be passed.

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A bad night for the SNP

SNP


The SNP suffered a bad night on the 8th June, losing 21 of its 56 seats (out of 59), due a resurgence in the union vote. This included high profile candidates such as the former leader Alex Salmond, and commons leader Angus Robertson (who arguably was the best performer in the last Parliament)

It was always going to be difficult to match the stunning and surprising success of 2015 however the scale of the fall back will be worrying the SNP. They will need to regroup and look at what they have on offering to the Scottish electorate, especially with Indyref2 off the table for now. They will be looking anxiously over their shoulders at the Union parties. Theresa May and the Conservatives might have found themselves an unlikely ally in the event of a no confidence motion.

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Dying days of the last coalition, something which may become more common?

It is likely that we will have a zombie government which will legislate as little as possible, and try to restrict the potential for vote losses which will be inevitable with a minority government. While they may try and reach out to Labour to get a level of cross party work on Brexit, it is unlikely that Labour would take this up. They have nothing to gain from it, and can sit back and watch the crisis unfold and then capitalise on it.

It is unlikely that there will be an election this year and it also unlikely that we will see an election until at least the spring. Situation and probability state that a more likely  period will be one or even two years away.

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