After seven fast-paced and incredibly tense weeks of campaigning, the British general public went to the polls last night and cast their votes to bring about a surprise general election result — A Hung Parliament.
The result they have given us is that of a hung parliament, an event whereby the largest party does not have enough of a majority to form a Government. This is a situation that the country hasn’t seen since the 2010 general election whereby the Conservatives were the largest party.
This time around they still are the largest with 313 seats as this article goes to press, this however is down 16 seats on their 2015 general election victory. Furthermore, though they remain the largest party, this is still a hammer blow for Prime Minister Theresa May who, despite a large majority, called the general election seven weeks ago. The ramifications of this Hung Parliament could yet lead to a new Prime Minister.
Behind the Conservatives, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party made important gains obtaining over 30 seats compared to the last election, leaving them with 260 seats as it stands at 7 am. Though they are not the majority party, this total is far greater than that obtained by both Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband in the 2010 and 2015 general elections, strengthening Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership mandate.
However, it wasn’t just the number of seats under the spotlight, but also the number of voters. This year turnout was up by just under ten per cent, this has been put down to a much higher turnout amongst 18- to 25-year-olds that has helped retain and retake Labour seats, particularly in areas that voted Brexit in last year’s EU Referendum, ‘This election shows young people can be energised by politics’, stated David Dimbleby on the BBC.
Despite Labour’s gains, however, the UK has suffered economically with the pound falling against the dollar and Euro in most markets as the rest of the world awoke to a United Kingdom that is now more divided politically than it was before the result, providing uncertainty in light of the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
Nevertheless, this election, as the final few results trickle in, has at least provided us with two key conclusions. Firstly, that with Labour’s increased seat count we are returning to a two-party state that should add some long-term stability in Parliament. Secondly, that the young voter can make a difference in a general election in twenty-first century Britain.