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UK Election SQUEAKER: Despite U.K. Election Setback, Theresa May Will Form a Minority Government


Theresa May will form a government with the aid of the Democratic Unionist Party (from Ulster). In the good old days, the Tories were officially called the Conservative & Unionist Party.

How can a Marxist terrorist supporter, who wants to borrow an extra half trillion pounds, increase his share of the vote? In soccer parlance, May was kicking at an open goal and she missed!

Tories on 318 with one seat left to declare. The Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland have 10, so she can govern — just!

She ran a lackluster campaign with a manifesto that alienated too many people.

Large swathes of people have been unconcerned about Corbyn’s treacherous connections and have swallowed empty promises of jam for everyone.

May’s position will be awful (don’t cry too hard). She can’t lead the party to another election, as she clearly doesn’t have what it takes — but how and when she goes will be an excruciating decision (Brexit talks start in 12 days time). A minority government can’t go on for more than a couple of years. The Tories will need to seamlessly find a “big beast” to take over and slog it out with Corbyn. I think the cameras will be watching Boris.

Photo: Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain addressed the news media outside 10 Downing Street in London on Friday, announcing plans to form a minority government.

Theresa May, Despite U.K. Election Setback, Will Form a Minority Government

By Stephen Castle and Steven Erlangerjune, New York Times, 9, 2017

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain, smarting from a humbling snap-election defeat that cost her Conservative Party its governing majority, said on Friday that her party would stay in power by forming a minority government with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland.

“What the country needs more than ever is certainty, and having secured the largest number of votes and the greatest number of seats in the general election, it is clear that only the Conservative and Unionist Party has the legitimacy and the ability to provide that certainty, by commanding a majority in the House of Commons,” Mrs. May said outside No. 10 Downing Street, using the full name of her party. “As we do, we will continue to work with our friends and allies, in the Democratic Unionist Party in particular.”

Mrs. May had called an election three years early in the hope of winning a stronger mandate as Britain prepares for two years of negotiations over its withdrawal from the European Union, but voters did not reward her gamble. Instead, they produced a hung Parliament — one in which no party has an outright majority in the 650-seat House of Commons.

The fractured voting — which saw strong gains by the largest opposition party, Labour, and modest gains by a smaller party, the centrist Liberal Democrats — was a further indication of stark political divisions in Britain, days before formal negotiations over withdrawal from the European Union are scheduled to begin in Brussels.

The uncertain outcome in Britain immediately prompted speculation that the start of negotiations might be delayed, or that the talks could drag for longer than two years, as scheduled — speculation that European officials, in public at least, tried to tamp down. “I don’t think we should talk about some prolongation of the deadline,” said the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka.

The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said he was ready for talks to begin immediately. “We are waiting for visitors coming from London,” he said. “I hope that we will not experience a further delay in the conclusion of these negotiations.”

Despite the loss of at least 12 seats for the Conservatives, Mrs. May will try to form a working majority with the Democratic Unionist Party, which won 10 seats on Thursday. With 318 Conservative seats plus the D.U.P. seats, Mrs. May would have 328 votes — just above the 326 needed for a majority. Mrs. May confirmed her plan to form a minority government after a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

The D.U.P., a historically Protestant party that seeks to maintain Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom, has close ties with the Conservatives, and it supported Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

It was unclear on Friday what price the D.U.P. might exact for its support. “The prime minister has spoken with me this morning, and we will enter discussion with the Conservatives to explore how it may be possible to bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge,” Arlene Foster, the party’s leader, said at an afternoon news conference. She did not give any details.

There is a precedent for this situation: The Ulster Unionist Party, another faction from Northern Ireland, helped shore up the government of John Major, a Conservative prime minister, from 1992 to 1997.

In some respects, the election on Thursday also resembled the one in 2010, when the Conservatives won the most seats in a general election but did not have a majority of seats. Under David Cameron, Mrs. May’s predecessor, they formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.

Whatever emerges will most likely be more fragile. In a coalition, the junior partner takes ministerial seats, is part of day-to-day decisions by the cabinet and shares a platform with the governing party. In a minority government, in contrast, a smaller party merely agrees to support the governing party in votes on legislation, but is not necessarily be part of the leadership.

Whatever emerges will most likely be more fragile than the coalition formed in 2010 by Mr. Cameron, which lasted five years.

And even if Mrs. May were to survive in the medium term, her authority has been badly damaged. She is certain to face demands from lawmakers in her own party that she change her leadership style and consult more widely. Nigel Evans, a senior Conservative lawmaker, blamed the party’s so-called manifesto, or platform, over which Mrs. May had to reverse course within days, for the election failure.

Mr. Evans suggested that divisive proposals on the financing of long-term care for older adults — from which Mrs. May had to backtrack — would not have been included in the manifesto if Mrs. May had consulted more widely. “We didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot, we shot ourselves in the head,” he told the BBC.

Paradoxically, the Conservative Party actually increased its share of the total vote from 2015 — when it won a commanding majority in Parliament — but not by enough in key constituencies. Under Britain’s first-past-the-post system, what matters is not a party’s share of the overall vote, but simply who places first in any given constituency.

The share of the vote captured by Labour on Thursday — 40 percent — was significantly higher than what many parties that have formed governments in the past have won.

For Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, the election was a big success. He outperformed expectations as a campaigner and his party saw a large rise in its share of the vote, even though it came behind the Conservatives. Though he remains unlikely to become prime minister, Mr. Corbyn’s position as leader of Labour has been secured, despite the hostility of many lawmakers in his own party.

There was speculation on Friday that Mrs. May would no longer have a parliamentary majority for her preferred strategy of making a clean break with the European Union, which would include leaving its single market and customs union.

During the referendum campaign last year, leaders of the Democratic Unionist Party favored leaving the bloc, but they also want to keep tariff-free trade with their neighbor, Ireland, and they want a “comprehensive free trade and customs agreement” with the European Union — a formulation that sounds close to remaining in the customs union.

The Labour Party wants to keep as much access as possible to the single market. Roland Rudd, a senior figure in the “Remain” campaign last year, said that, after Thursday’s election, Parliament may be more pro-Europe.

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