Photo by Franz Wender

Summer of elections – 2019

”Not another election” exclaimed Brenda in 2017 about Prime Minister Theresa May’s snap election call.

Two years later the prime minister was forced to resign under pressure from inside her party about her Brexit positions – forcing an internal party election for the next prime minister.

She had lost three Parliamentary votes on her plans for a withdrawal deal with the EU and her party had suffered damaging losses in two sets of recent elections in May – local elections for council seats across the country and elections for the European Parliament.

In the local elections both the governing Conservatives and opposition Labour parties lost seats across the country – the Tories suffering their heaviest losses since 1995 under Prime Minister John Major and Labour suffering losses despite a divided and vulnerable government.
Pro-Remain parties and independent candidates benefited.

Local and national issues are always mixed in local elections so the results were difficult to decipher accurately and unsurprisingly sparked a new round of wildly varying interpretations which tended to depend on who was doing the interpreting.

And in the European Parliament elections the Conservatives suffered their worst electoral defeat since 1832, losing nearly 15% of their vote and coming fifth in party results.
Labour lost more than 11% and came third.
Gaining votes were the Liberal Democrats who leapfrogged to second and along with other parties that supported remaining in the EU took a total of about 40%.
But the big winner was Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party which won nearly 32% of the vote, probably taking it from the Conservatives and UKIP which all but collapsed.

Those elections changed the UK political landscape – forcing a centrist Conservative prime minister out, weakening Jeremy Corbyn’s position as Labour leader, and raising hopes of the Liberal Democrats in gathering Remain supporters.

Some 160,000 members of the Conservative party chose the country’s next prime minister – members who were predominantly male, white, older and conservative and reinforced by a recent campaign to encourage right-wing supporters of UKIP (the UK Independence Party) to join.

The two final candidates – Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt –both appealed to hard line supporters of Brexit and said they were prepared to leave the EU without a deal.

The Liberal Democrats also chose a new leader who was hoping and expected to benefit from the recent surge in support from voters who wanted to remain in the EU.
About 105,000 party members could vote – on average younger than Conservative or Labour party members but not as young as Green supporters, most considered relaxed about immigration, and 90% of them Remain voters in the 2016 referendum on the EU.

There were nearly 46 million registered voters in the UK as of the end of 2018.

And the EU also chose new heads of the European Commission and the European Council in an opaque and indirect process in which even the system of selection is not certain.

Brenda on elections
Theresa May resigns
Local elections damage both Conservatives and Labour 
Election interpretation depends on viewpoint
European Parliament elections
European Parliament election results
Analysing the vote
Brexit party surge
New Conservative party
Brexit Conservatives
Liberal Democrats seek new leader
Liberal Democrat party members
EU leader selections