Just weeks after Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election, voters were given the opportunity to decide whether she should continue to govern the country or whether Labour and Jeremy Corbyn should be given the duty. The result proved to be one of the most sensational in history, concluding with a hung parliament. While the dust is yet to settle, here are six things that we have learned from the 2017 UK General Election.
1. May Shouldn’t Have Gambled
Let’s start with the most obvious; May shouldn’t have gambled. The Conservatives were sitting comfortably with a majority of 331 seats from the previous election, only to end up with a mere 318. This is despite the fact that she was looking at a 20 point lead just two months earlier. The lesson to take from this is that nothing is ever a safe bet in politics.
2. Snap Elections Are Too Risky
It’s unlikely that we’ll see another snap election for a good few years. The public clearly don’t enjoy being sent to the polls when they don’t have to, not to mention that the whole process leaves them feeling suspicious about what’s to come in the following years. In future, it’s safe to assume that most governments will last for multiple years rather than take their chances with an early election.
3. The Next Election Could Be Unpredictable
If you’ve got a hunch who’ll win the next election, then you should put your money where your mouth is. Labour – somewhat unexpectedly – gained 34 seats. It would be slightly foolish to presume that the party will be keeping hold of all these given the small majority they managed to grab. For instance, Labour took Kensington from Conservative by just 20 votes. Essentially, the political landscape is more unpredictable than ever.
4. There Could Be A New Prime Minister
Theresa May is currently refusing to step down from her role as the most powerful woman in the country – despite calls to do so from many members of her own party. There’s plenty of talk that she could leave her position within the next few months, meaning a new leader would be required. Home secretary Amber Rudd was the frontrunner until she only managed to secure a majority of just 346 votes for her seat in Hastings and Rye. So who else is there?
It’s possible that foreign secretary Boris Johnson could be next in line, however those in a gambling mood shouldn’t rule out betting on Brexit secretary David Davis or defence secretary Michael Fallon. There’s also a lot of talk about Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson stepping up to the plate.
5. The House Of Commons Is Diversifying
The long-held view that ‘all politicians are the same’ has never been more inaccurate. Instead, there’s more diversity than ever in the House of Commons. In total, there are 208 women and 45 LGBT MPs – both all-time highs. Meanwhile, there are a record 51 MPs who are black or of an ethnic minority. It’s safe to say that the days when straight, white, males dominated politics are coming to an end. Those people betting on future results shouldn’t take this for granted when the next election swings around.
6. Voter Turnout Is On The Rise
Labour’s sudden surge back into relevance has largely been the result of youth turnout. While it’s still unverified whether 18 to 24-year-olds really did sway the result as much as people think they did, it’s already been revealed that voter turnout was the highest since 1997, with 68.7% of people having their say. If it’s true that young voters really are more engaged with politics than ever before, then it’s possible this figure could once again rise by the next election. Due to this, it’s worth considering whether the Conservatives will take a leaf out of Labour’s book by aiming more of their policies towards the young.
Fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride
The irony of Theresa May’s obsession with the political landscape being ‘strong and stable’ has left things in a more precarious situation than ever before. There are whispers all over the country, with many wondering if the Brexit negotiations will go ahead and others questioning if there could be a second general election before the year is out. We’ve learned a lot from this election, however the main thing might just be to expect the unexpected.
UK Politics Betting Odds
Next Government (yes you can still bet on this)
Conservative Minority – 1.14 with Betfair
Next Prime Minister (still open for recent election)
Theresa May – 1.19 with Betfair