Despatch Box on #GE2017


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By Rob Johnston

So it’s finally the big day to head down to your polling station and exercise your democratic right! Will this election be as people predicted when it was first announced, or will things not be quite as they seemed? As the polls begin to come out and we start to get a general idea of the votes, we’ll discuss and maybe even predict what we think will happen. So stick around for the rest of the evening for more updates!

Final Roundup – 13:23

2017 results

So there we have it, the Conservatives have failed to gain enough votes for an outright majority, something that was certainly not expected, least of all by the Tories. Theresa May had begun this election in hopes of eliminating any threat from Labour, but instead has put the Conservative Party into jeopardy and ironically may have to enter a coalition (or at least agreement) with the Democratic Unionist Party that could be considered fairly chaotic.

May herself, despite calls from both Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron to stand down, has gotten permission by the Queen to form a minority government, although it’s pretty clear that this general election has been pretty bad for the hopeful Conservative Party.

Quick Note – Labour beats their 2015 General Election result – 04:47

As of writing the Labour Party have officially beaten their 2015 General Election which was 232 seats and are now at 242,  considerable gains since their previous disastrous stand.

Quick Note – Alex Salmond loses his seat to Conservatives – 04:20

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has lost his seat to the Conservative candidate Colin Clark who gain a majority of 2607 over the SNP candidate. Now that him and Angus Robertson are out, who will lead the SNP in Westminster, could eyes start falling onto Mhairi Black to lead the battered Scottish National Party?

Quick Note – Theresa May to resign if she does not win majority according to LBC – 03:21

If Theresa May loses her majority, she will apparently stand down as leader and Prime Minister, according to sources LBC have in Conservative Party Headquarters.

Thoughts on the situation – thomas-sherlock By Thomas Sherlock – 03:02

Well this night has taken a turn for the unexpected. The exit poll has royally shaken things up. The pound’s plummeting (again) and results are trickling in. There’s huge surprises already. The Conservatives are making gains in Scotland, something even former Tory deputy chair Lord Ashcroft has admitted is surprising, even unseating Angus Robertson (SNP Westminster leader). In England the shift is seemingly going against the Tories; Justine Greening (Transport Minister) has had her majority cut from 10,000 to 1,500, Battersea and Bury North have been taken by Labour. From analysis the UKIP vote has not flooded behind the Tories, but been split between them and Labour, putting paid to a long-held assumption. Reports are coming in that Tory HQ is not expecting a majority, a colossal shift from a few months ago. This is a night of surprises to say the least. Suddenly the exit poll is looking like a real possibility, and if that happens potentially days of political chaos await us. Politics is always unpredictable, let tonight be a testament to that.

Quick Note – How the mighty have fallen – 02:46

Nick Clegg has lost his seat of Sheffield Hallam gaining only 19,756 votes as opposed to the victor Jared O Mara’s 21,881. His face was one of someone who had clearly given up, and in his speech he sounded very much of a man who had lost it all.

Quick Note – Harry Cole on Conservative performance – 02:33

Harry Cole

According to a Tweet by Sun journalist Harry Cole the Conservatives are now expected not to outperform the exit poll’s estimate. Whether or not this is true, we can only wait and see.

Thoughts on the situation – 12741871_1267539223273075_6063705862090352672_n By Malick Doucoure – 02:21

With Justine Greening seeing her majority slashed by 9,000 and the initial exit poll suggesting the tories have lost their majority, things are looking pretty good for the Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn has managed to steer his party from a position in which they were predicted to lose 70 seats to one where talks of a progressive alliance are becoming increasingly viable. One question that does come into mind is, had the parliamentary Labour Party unreservedly supported Corbyn from the start, could we be seeing a whole different story right now? Could we have been talking about a Labour majority, rather than a Labour led coalition? Who knows. At the moment several indicators, including a higher youth turnout, suggest the tories will fall short of their majority. I predict a hung parliament in which – as a result of the liberal democrats refusing to enter a coalition – a second election will definitely be on the cards

Thoughts on the exit poll – 01:21

If the exit poll does turn out to be in fact correct (and that’s a very big IF), then we could see a week of tense negotiations on coalitions and even future elections. This is of course massively speculative and by tomorrow, the actual results could be completely different.

One suggestion made by the Independent in May was that the DUP would be the party for the Conservatives to form a coalition with in the case if a hung parliament. We’ve seen in the exit poll that they could be receiving 8 seats, which whilst it wouldn’t give the Tories the seats they need, it would increase their potential mandate to form a minority government.

Unfortunately for the ‘progressive alliance’, there is no conceivable way they could form a coalition absolute majority according to the exit poll. Even if they were able to get a coalition of Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, it still wouldn’t give them the 326 seats needed, they would however have just more than the Conservatives, giving them more of a mandate for a minority government. Would this coalition last though, my thinking is that cracks would start to appear very soon after?

Liberal Democrats clarify they will not be entering a coalition – circa 23:00

In a tweet at around 11pm that they would not be entering any coalitions with anyone, despite Ming Campbell’s discussion on the possibility of coalition with other parties. This would of course stop them from entering any kind of deal with the Labour party as well.

Memories of 2015

So in 2015 we had a similar exit poll deliver the prediction of a hung parliament, and back then I probably put way too much faith into it, so as you can imagine, I’m fairly sceptical of this current exit poll.

2015 Exit Poll

The 2015 exit poll for the Conservatives isn’t too dissimilar to this year’s in fact, only losing 4 seats in this year’s one. However there are of course key differences in the massive losses for the SNP in this year’s exit poll and considerate gains for Labour.

If we look however at the actual results of the 2015 election, we see a very different picture.

2015 results 2

The Conservatives of course made a much greater amount of gains than many thought. Could the same thing happen again?

Ming Campbell on BBC News – 22:23

A few minutes ago Ming Campbell (Liberal Democrat leader before Nick Clegg) was being interviewed on BBC news. It seems that he was rather open to the idea of another coalition with the Conservatives rather than any form of coalition with Labour. Of course this would easily make up the seats that the Conservatives (based on the exit poll) need (that being 12). Whether or not other senior members of the Liberal Democrats such as Tim Farron and Nick Clegg agree is up for debate however.

First Poll – 22:00

  • Conservatives – 314
  • Labour – 266
  • SNP – 34
  • Liberal Democrats – 14

So the first poll is rather strange but not unexpected, many have thought that there was indeed a possibility of a hung Parliament, the BBC believe that the Conservatives will indeed be short by about 12 seats, and whether or not they can make up this is up for debate.

If this poll is what’s going to happen (and I am very sceptical, with the 2015 general election in mind), then Theresa May’s attempt at gaining more seats would have been a failure indeed, one that could force her resignation.

Of course, these are early days, and as the night goes on I will be discussing this further.



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