Ever since Theresa May called a snap election on April 18th, each of the major political parties have been campaigning hard to win votes ahead of the general election on 8th June.
May’s reasons for calling the general election, three years earlier than scheduled, were meant to be to “make a success of Brexit”. However, it has also been argued that May chose her timing tactically, picking a time when the Conservative Party had a significant opinion poll lead over Labour.
May stated, “The country is coming together but Westminster is not.” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the snap general election saying it would “give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first.”
But, did Theresa May’s gamble pay off? As the country woke on Friday 9th June, they were greeted with the news that the UK election had ended in a hung parliament.
The Conservatives needed 326 seats to win and achieved 318, while Labour won 261 seats. Theresa May has indicated that she will still try to form a government as the Conservative Party have a slight majority.
Senior Conservatives are reported to have criticized the Prime Minister this morning, saying that she made, “fundamental strategic errors” in her campaign. Katie Perrior, Theresa May’s former comms director, is quoted saying the Tory campaign was, “pretty awful.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also called for May to resign after the election result. The MP spoke as he was reelected to his seat in Islington North saying, “She wanted a mandate. Well, the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that is enough for her to go.” He also added that he was, “ready to serve” the UK.
However, May appears to have no plans to step down. Speaking in the early hours of Friday morning when she accepted her victory in the constituency of Maidenhead she said, “If the Conservative party has won the most seats and most votes then it will be incumbent that we will have that period of stability and that is what we will do,”
Theresa May has now been Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for 332 days. Let’s take a look back at some of the pivotal moments of her General Election campaign…
April 18th 2017 – Theresa May calls a snap general election for June 8
May 3rd 2017 – Theresa May arrives at Buckingham Palace to visit Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, in London, to ask for the dissolution of Parliament ahead of the upcoming general election
May 9th 2017 – Theresa May announces she wants to bring back fox hunting
“Personally I have always been in favour of fox hunting”
May announced that if elected she will hold a free vote on overturning the foxhunting ban which originally came into place in 2004. Her statement divided the public and caused outrage amongst animal rights groups who have since staged protests.
May 9th 2017 – Theresa May and her husband Philip are interviewed by Matt Baker and Alex Jones for the One Show
Discussing both May’s professional political life and her personal life, the PM came across well in the interview, although she sparked outcry among viewers after referencing “boy jobs and girl jobs” around the house when chatting about her home life with husband Philip.
A Kantar poll found that 72% of people thought Theresa May was a decisive and strong negotiator, showing that her choice of words on the One Show hadn’t harmed her image too severely.
13th May 2017 – Theresa May makes brief visit to Northern Ireland
May visits Balmoral Show in Balmoral Park, near Lisburn in County Antrim and is accompanied by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire .
A Poll by Tory grandee Lord Ashcroft finds that the Tories could win a majority of up to 172 seats as former UKIP voters jump to the Conservative Party following the Brexit vote.
18th May 2017 – Theresa May unveils The Conservative manifesto in Halifax, Yorkshire
“A number of the headline commitments in the Conservative Party’s manifesto will be welcomed by business communities around the UK” said the British Chambers of Commerce after the Conservative Party unveiled their manifesto. However, backlash against Theresa May’s plans to cut winter fuel payments and change social care funding in her party’s manifesto saw Labour creep up to less than 10 points behind the Conversatives in the polls according to Yougov.
18th May 2017 – Seven-way ITV leaders’ debate in Salford goes ahead without Theresa May
The Prime Minister is criticised for not attending the debate, along with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Ukip leader Paul Nuttall, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and Green co-leader Caroline Lucas were all in attendance.
23rd May 2017 – Theresa May responds to the Manchester terror attack
The Prime Minister looked grave as she delivered her speech in response to the devastating and horrific attack in Manchester. Speaking for the first time publicly since the attack, May called the terrorist act an “appalling, sickening cowardice”.
The Prime Minister also said in her statement “While we experienced the worst of humanity in Manchester last night, we also saw the best”.
A poll by Survation showed that the public were impressed with Theresa May’s response to the Manchester terror attack. 56% of people said they thought that the PM did a good job in her response to the tragedy that saw 22 innocent lives lost in a barbaric bomb attack. A poll by ComRes also found that 41% of people felt that Theresa May was the party leader most likely to keep Britain safe from terrorism.
May 29th 2017 – Prime Minister Theresa May is interviewed by broadcaster Jeremy Paxman, during a general election broadcast, in London
Theresa May holds her own in an interview with Jeremy Paxman, although Channel 4’s Jon Snow points out that she is the first serving Prime Minister in 30 years to refuse an interview with him.
May 31st 2017 – Theresa May sends Amber Rudd to BBC debate in her place
The Prime Minister received widespread criticism for not attending the televised debate featuring key figures from each party, chaired by Mishal Husain. Despite Amber Rudd receiving praise from viewers for her composure during the debate just days after the death of her father, this only served to cast an even greater shadow over May. A survey by ComRes found that Theresa May’s personal approval rating had gone down into negative for the first time over the course of the campaign. 42% of respondents said they viewed her unfavourably.
June 4th 2017 – Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement on the terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough in central London
The Prime Minister declared “enough is enough” as she gave her tough statement following the sickening terror attack in London at the beginning of June. She declared, “there is far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.”
“So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations,” she continued. Her statement supported the view shared across the polls that May was the party leader that could be best placed to tackle terrorism in the UK.