In this article I will be looking at the key events that have happened since the election and how they have affected The Conservatives and Labour.
The DUP Deal
- Background: After losing her majority in the snap election Theresa May formed a ‘confidence — and — supply’ deal with The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The deal gave Northern Ireland 1 billion pounds and it gave The Conservatives a working majority of 11 (this number excludes Sinn Fein MPs who don’t take their seats)
- This deal was good for The Conservatives, as so far as it gave them a working majority, and guaranteed the passage of The Queen’s speech through The House of Commons. However, May’s plans to change the triple lock and the winter fuel allowance, had to be dropped as a result of the deal.
- The £1 billion given to The DUP, weakened The Conservatives argument that there wasn’t enough money to invest in public services, and gave Labour a strong argument, to say that austerity was unnecessary.
The Queen’s Speech
- Background: With DUP support, The Queen’s Speech passed — unamended — by a majority of 14, although The Government was forced to climbdown, on giving free abortions to women from Northern Ireland, after Stella Creasy proposed this idea in an amendment, which she later withdrew, following The Government’s support.
- By defeating all amendments, it showed Theresa May still had some authority over her MPs.
- The Conservative’s voting down of a Labour amendment, to end the public sector pay cap, damaged their already fraught relationship with public sector workers.
- Chuka Umunna’s amendment, to stay in The Single Market, highlighted division’s within The Labour Party, after 50 MPs defied the whip and voted for the amendment. Jeremy Corbyn’s firing of 3 cabinet members, as a result of their rebellion, disappointed many remainers, but re-affirmed to Labour supporting ex-UKIP voters, that Labour was a party committed to delivering Brexit.
Grenfell Tower fire
- Background: At approximately 00:54 on June 14th, a fire broke out at Grenfell Tower, in Kensington. The fire was caused by a faulty fridge-freezer and the death toll currently stands at 80, with many more missing.
- Theresa May had been criticised for failing to meet with residents of Grenfell Tower, following the fire, but she did announce the creation of a £5 million fund for those affected. When she went to a relief center on the 16th of June she was heckled with shouts of, “coward” and “murderer”
- Jeremy Corbyn called for the requisition of private property for those displaced by the fire. This call was criticised, with many questioning, if this was the best option for the victims, or if it was even legal. However, a YouGov poll showed 59% support for this policy
Lib Dem Leadership Contest (or lack thereof)
- Background: The General Election was a mixed bag for The Lib Dems, on the one hand, they lost votes — even compared to their disastrous 2015 result, and they lost 5 of their 9 MPs, including the high profile, Nick Clegg and Sarah Olney. Less than a week after this result Tim Farron resigned as leader, citing difficulties reconciling his faith and politics. Now, it looks like Vince Cable will run unopposed.
- Since the resignation of their leader, The Liberal Democrats have been polling lower than the 7.6% of the vote they got in the election. This has meant that the voting intentions for the main two parties (Labour and The Conservatives) is larger than the remarkably high 84.5% they collectively amassed in June.
- Many Lib Dems are concerned at the lack of a contest, and are disappointed that they did not get their first female leader in Jo Swinson — MP for Dunbartonshire East. There are also concerns about Vince Cable, who raised eyebrows, when he compared Theresa May’s “Citizens of Nowhere” Speech to Mein Kampf. However, many Lib Dems are confident about their party’s chances under a Cable leadership.
It is clear that the immediate aftermath of the election was bad for Theresa May, she was personally blamed for losing her party's majority in an election she needn’t have had, and there were multiple reports of plots against her being made by high profile Conservatives. But, the momentum behind Corbyn immediately following the election seems to have died down, ever so slightly. The last four best PM polls have given Theresa May a small, but consistent lead over Corbyn and this, along with her strong speech at the 1922 Committee seems to have secured her position in the short term.