Skip to main content

Warwick experts reflect on the 2017 General Election

  • Dr Mike Finn, Deputy Head of the School for Cross-Faculty Studies, writes:

"This has been a spectacular election result which has confounded the political science community. Theresa May's credibility lies in tatters, whilst Jeremy Corbyn's project to transform Labour into an anti-austerity movement appears to have been vindicated.

"May's decision to trigger Article 50 - to start the clock ticking on Britain's process of leaving the EU - and then call a general election smacks of hubris. Far from providing strong and stable government, it now leaves Britain with a political mess with the negotiations looming.

"Corbyn appears to have been successful in energizing the young in a way not seen before, and this has undeniably played a part in the spectacular successes of last night - not least Labour's capture of Canterbury. The collapse of the UKIP vote - widely predicted - didn't happen as planned, either. It collapsed to be sure - but whereas it was supposed to go en bloc to the Tories, in fact it split in different proportions regionally between the Conservatives and Labour.

"The smart money has now to be on an early election. Even if Theresa May can make an arrangement - formal or informal - with the Democratic Unionists work in the short-term, this will still only leave her with a slender majority, not the relatively stable coalition David Cameron led for five years. Whilst the quick formation of a government may buy here time from her enemies within the Conservative Party who now wish to remove her, those plots will continue to mount. Much of the May agenda - including controversial plans such as grammar schools -will now have to be scrapped.

"It was, without doubt, an historic night for British politics. The full implications of it will only become clear in the days and weeks ahead."

  • Dr Alex Smith, Senior Leverhulme Research Fellow and Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology writes:

“Ruth Davidson has achieved what was once unthinkable in Scotland: a full-throated revival for the Conservative Party. The number of seats won under her leadership is greater then even the total secured in the 1992 general election - the last time the Tories held more than one seat north of the England-Scotland border. While Labour and the Liberal Democrats also made gains, it was the Scottish Conservatives who claimed the biggest scalps - SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson and former First Minister Alex Salmond. What will this mean of the Scottish Nationalists' hope of holding - and winning - a second referendum on independence? Negotiations in the coming days between the parties at Westminster could make all the difference but it would seem, for now, that voters in Scotland have sent a clear message to their politicians - 'enough is enough', it's time to get on with what they were elected to do: lead.”