Theresa's Brexit hopes dashed

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s hopes of strengthening her government’s hand at the upcoming Brexit discussions with the European Union have been dashed by her party’s less than satisfactory performance in the just-concluded elections to the British parliament. Two months ago, Theresa called for snap elections, expecting to win a larger mandate. Though the Conservative Party won the largest number of seats, it has emerged weaker than before. The party has lost its majority. Thus, Theresa’s gamble of calling early elections did not pay off. Still, the Conservatives are staking claim to form a minority government although it is not clear whether Theresa will continue as prime minister. Her leadership of the party is under challenge. Other parties too are calling on her to step down. A Conservative government will, therefore, be one that is weaker and also more divided.

Britain is staring at much uncertainty. For one, minority governments are unstable and vulnerable to pressure from partners and the Opposition. The track record of previous minority governments in British history does not bode well for the next government. Moreover, there is little clarity on how the Brexit talks will go. Theresa did not get the clear mandate she sought for her version of a hard Brexit. Should the Conservatives form the next government with her at the helm, talks may start as scheduled in a week, but the passage of Brexit-related legislation is likely to be challenging as the government will need to win the support of Opposition parties. Besides, Theresa will be preoccupied with fending off challenges to her leadership from within the party, hardly the best frame of mind for tough Brexit negotiations.

The election result will provide the Labour Party, especially its leader Jeremy Corbyn, with a shot in the arm. The party was not expected to do well. However, Theresa’s lacklustre campaign, her decision as home secretary to axe 20,000 policemen at a time when people are worried about security, and the huge youth turnout on voting day worked in Labour’s favour. Though the Labour did not win the election, the party has emerged with a brighter future and Corbyn’s grip over the party has strengthened. Should the Conservative government fall, Corbyn will quickly make a bid for power at the head of a coalition comprising Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party (SNP). He is waiting in the wings. The issue of Scottish independence has been buried for now with voters dealing the SNP a severe drubbing. The party treated the elections as a referendum on a second referendum on the question of Scottish independence. But voters rejected the SNP’s appeal.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry