Brits ‘Punish’ Lackluster PM, Expect May to Step Down Soon
A politically wounded Theresa May was punished by voters who took away her majority in parliament, will not be able to ‘soldier on” by resisting pressure to resign after the failure of her high-stakes election gamble made the massive challenge of untangling Britain from the EU only more complex and uncertain.
Foolishly having called an early election in hopes of getting an increased majority that could have strengthened her hand in Brexit talks with the EU, Ms. May instead saw her majority evaporate leaving her political fortunes dangling.
Rather than immediately resigning, the former Home Secretary is hanging to hopes that her Conservatives might still be able to govern by making deals with another party or group of parties.
She sought Queen Elizabeth II’s approval to form a government Friday.
The shock result and the prospect that the EU will now be negotiating with a shaky British government cast a cloud over the Brexit negotiations just 10 days before they are due to start.
With 649 of 650 seats in the House of Commons declared, Ms May’s Conservatives had 318 seats. That is short of the 326 they needed for an outright majority and well down from the 330 seats they had before May’s roll of the electoral dice. Labour has 261.
The recriminations have stung her badly stinging.
Left-wing Socialist Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, now calling on May to resign, said Friday morning that people have had enough of austerity politics and cuts in public spending. He ruled out the potential for deals or pacts with other progressive parties in Parliament.
“The arguments the Conservative Party put forward in this election have lost, and we need to change.”
The results confounded those who said Mr. Corbyn was electorally toxic.
Written off by many, Labour surged in the final weeks of the campaign. It drew strong support from young voters, who appeared to have turned out to vote in bigger-than-expected numbers.
Ms May was resoundingly re-elected to her Maidenhead seat in southern England, but appeared very tense and did not spell out what she planned to do.
“The country needs a period of stability, and whatever the results are the Conservative Party will ensure we fulfill our duty in ensuring that stability,” she said.
I predict she will soon be gone. And of course British media reported late Friday that Ms. May had no intention of resigning.
EU budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger said the EU is prepared to stick to the timetable that calls for negotiations to start in mid-June, but said it would take a few hours at least to see how the results of the election play out in forming a government.
“Without a government, there is no negotiation,” he said Friday morning on Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio.
Ms. May, who went into the election with a reputation for quiet competence, was criticized for a lackluster campaigning style and for a plan to force elderly people to pay more for their care, a proposal her opponents dubbed the “dementia tax.”
Theresa May’s majority was eroded.
The Great British Pound (GBP) got hammered Vs the USD.
Have a terrific weekend.