Who’s going to be the Brexit artist?

“It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future”
Niels Bohr

9 June 2017

She wanted a strong majority to secure a good Brexit deal. that was a mistake. Theresa May called for anticipated elections in April this year to strengthen her majority. It appears her predictions did not come true (as Cameron’s in June 2016). As the results of the general elections are about to come out, only one thing is certain: the Tories lost it. And the Labour did not win it.

A number of 326 seats in the Commons is necessary to have a majority government (follow the results here). But the Conservatives, that previously had a tiny majority, have lost about 12 seats, placing the government in minority with only 316 seats. The Labour party has made some progress but remains far behind with about 261 seats (31 more). The Scottish National Party lost quite a number of seats and now holds about 35 seats (minus 19). The Lib-Dems obtained 12 seats (3 more). One of the big losers of this election is the UKip; not so much in terms of seats (it had one and lost it) but in terms of number of votes. The UKip obtained about 13% in 2015’s general elections whilst it scored a sheer 2% this year. Altogether, turnout proved slightly greater than in the last general elections with 68.7% compared to 66.4% in 2015.

This is likely to have consequences on the deal the UK is going to be able to negotiate with the EU. At least three scenarios may unfold. The most likely one is the Tories (with or without May) running a minority government. The prime minister maintains a hard position on Brexit and try to build ad hoc alliances with individual MPs to make sure the position is supported by majority in the Commons. Such a scenario would prove hard to implement though given how short from a majority the Conservatives fell. This may prove even harder as the Lib-Dems, their most likely partners, campaigned for a much softer deal on the EU exit. A second scenario would consist in the Tories softening their position in order to secure a larger support for their Brexit position in the Commons. A third scenario, the less likely, is a coalition between the Lib Dems, SNP and Labour party. Such a coalition would however not hold a majority, far from that. Together they would total 308 seats and would therefore need to rally 18 MPs to their position (at least).

Theresa May wanted a strong majority for more stability; she obtains a minority heralding a long search for compromises.