It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Call a snap election, get a thumping majority and a proper mandate from the British people. Put “Mayism” on the map as a radical conservative ideology and start the Brexit negotiations with a strong hand. Maybe even reshuffle a couple of difficult colleagues out of the cabinet.
The result, however, has been very different. Today, British voters wake up to a hung parliament. At the time of writing, Theresa May is reportedly refusing to resign. However, her credibility has been seriously damaged and it’s unclear whether she will be able to cling to power. The leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which the Conservatives will need in order to prop up a minority government, has said it will be “very difficult for [May] to survive”.
Britain’s economic prospects look anything but ‘strong and stable’. The pound has fallen in value again, which is likely to push up inflation. The UK has gone from the fastest-growing economy within the G7 to the worst performing in less than 12 months. Unemployment is at historically low levels, but political chaos is likely to increase uncertainty and discourage investment and hiring of new employees.
Brexit negotiations are due to start in 10 days time. Who is going to be sitting across the table from EU Commission negotiator Michel Barnier? What will the British position be? Will the new government be able to guarantee it can get any deal through parliament? Or will it limp along before collapsing midway through the negotiations?
What does the British election result mean for Brexit? Have British voters stopped a “hard Brexit”? Or have they made it more likely by giving eurosceptic backbench MPs power over a minority government? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!