In Defence of Liberty

Driven by data; ridden with liberty.

General Election 2017


It has begun. (Source: UK Business Insider/Reuters)

On 8th June 2017, the British public will go to polling stations again: the third all-UK ballot in three years.

Prime Minister Theresa May sought to hold a snap general election, to seek “strong and stable leadership” throughout the UK’s exit from the European Union, in line with the EU membership referendum result last year.  The Prime Minister cited “political game-playing” and “division in Westminster” as reasons for this snap election, which had previously been repeatedly and strenuously denied.

(Video: BBC News)

Under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011, a government can seek an early election, but only with approval by two-thirds majority of the House of Commons.

With a vote of 522 to 13, the House of Commons backed the early general election.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition and Labour leader, welcomed the “opportunity” to “put the case to the people of Britain, to stand up against this government and its failed economic agenda”.

(Video: BBC News)

Key Issues

The Prime Minister made the request for the snap election over the UK’s negotiations and exit from the European Union.

The Leader of the Opposition’s initial reaction was based on the country’s economic prospects, and state funding levels for healthcare and education.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats both have variations of the government’s current strategy on exiting from the EU, including proposed policies to remain a member of the European Economic Area.

Party manifestos have yet to be published.

State of the Parties

Polling for the next general election had previously been conducted under the auspices this election would occur in 2020, rather than in seven weeks’ time.

The Financial Times ‘poll-of-polls’, which the shares were last updated on 20th April 2017, show the Conservatives with a central vote share  estimate of 45%. Under the same average, Labour were on 26%, with the Liberal Democrats’ share estimated to be 10% and UKIP on 9%.


Individual polls are represented by the lighter colours, with the trends in the standard party colours. (Source: Financial Times)

Despite the closeness of the parties in March 2016, Labour’s vote share in polls has been irregularly declining and eroding. In contrast, the EU referendum has largely served to consolidate Conservative support, leading to the substantially higher vote share observed in polls.

In questions of preferred prime minister, a majority prefer Theresa May to Jeremy Corbyn. Leadership ratings have a strong and demonstrable relationship with electoral performance. Plausibly, this is due to leader evaluations having short-term and long-term effects of perceptions of party macro-competence.

There is a little less than seven weeks to go until polling day.



This entry was posted on April 22, 2017 by in National Politics and tagged , , , , , .
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