The Snap Election

Well, there’s a surprise. This morning, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that there will be a snap General Election for June 8th 2017.

Or rather she didn’t. Not quite. Under the Fixed-Term Parliament Act the government must win a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons in order to call an early election. That vote will be held tomorrow. However, ‘Leader of the Opposition’, Hereby Corbyn has for some reason welcomed the move so it seems likely the vote will be carried. Unless, that is, a significant number of Labour MPs defy him. We’ll see.

In her short speech the PM stated that she was calling an early election because Parliament was somehow obstructing her plans for BrEXit. That’s a surprising claim, since the main opposition party voted for triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and has actually done precious little opposing of any kind.

So that argument makes little sense to me. Moreover in 2016 when she came to power, Theresa may stated adamantly that there would be no early General Election.

So why the change of heart? My theory is that the results of the criminal investigation into fraud by the Conservative Party at the 2015 General Election are about the be announced, and the PM doesn’t want to endure a wave of by-elections in marginal constituencies won by dishonest means. Hence the hasty decision to neutralise that threat.

Unless there is tactical voting on a massive scale it seems likely that the Conservative Party will win the forthcoming General Election with a large majority. A big turnout from young people might shake things up too.

I hope everyone who is eligible will register to vote and cast their ballot on the day, tactically if necessary. The Conservatives are treating this country like their private playground and I would be more than delighted if this gamble backfired on them. I have to say, though, that I’m not optimistic.

9 Responses to “The Snap Election”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    I think you are wrong about the length of the next Parliament. The effect of the Fixed Term Parliament Act is that routine General Elections will always be held on the first Thursday of May, and that Parliaments may not last more than 5 years exactly. So the election subsequent to one that is called early jumps by a year depending on whether the poll is held before or after the first Thursday in May. (Were you thinking it was whether an election was *called* before or after that date?) The maximum duration of the new Parliament following the poll in June will therefore be 4 years and 11 months, taking us to May 2022. See:

    of which the Explanatory notes on section 1 in the revised version reads:

    Section 1 states that the polling day for the next parliamentary general election is to be 7 May 2015. Subsection (3) sets out that the polling day for every subsequent general election is to be held on the first Thursday in May five years from the date of the last election. Subsection (4) provides that where an early general election takes place under section 2 of the Act, the next general election will generally take place on the first Thursday in May in the fifth year from the date of the last election. However, if the early election is held before the first Thursday in May in an election year, the next general election will be held on the first Thursday in May in the fourth year from the previous election. The effect being when an early general election is held, the election day of the first Thursday in May is restored at the next election, and the duration of the Parliament resulting from the early election will normally be no more than five years in length.

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    Your fondness for contrarian betting might be in play soon…

  3. I don’t think it is driven by fraud. Perhaps it is dictator envy: ‘that Turkish president gets more power and I wants it..’ But it won’t work. In the absence of any opposition, the conservatives will create their own. The size of the majority doesn’t matter. You need an external enemy to make people who may not much like each other, work together. After the election, neither labour nor Europe (or UKIP)will fit the bill. Of course ‘foreigners’ can be defined as the enemy and I guess that will be tried, but there has already been quite a backlash against calls for hatred within the UK.

  4. Of course campaign “promises” which depend on things other than the will of the person making them are fine; one shouldn’t have to preface every promise with “assuming that I have a majority in Parliament”. However, in cases like this, when May could have stuck to her word, there needs to be some sort of accountability. She gained support from some people as a result of that statement. It is wrong that she can flip-flop with no punishment.

  5. Anton Garrett Says:

    Cheer up, Peter! She will get the anti-Brexiteers off her back but she will also get the hardliners among the Brexiteers, upon whom her majority presently depends, off her back.

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