Jeremy Corbyn campaigning with Matt Western in Leamington Spa

Election Roundup: May’s top aides resign as DUP coalition looks likely

The Conservative party failed to achieve a majority government during this Thursday’s general election, gaining only 319 seats within the next Parliament. To reach the required 326 seats Theresa May has agreed to form a government deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), in order to: “provide certainty and stability for the British people”.

Although the precise nature of their arrangement is yet to be seen, Robert Peston reported this morning that Theresa May and Chief Whip Gavin Williamson will look to form a coalition agreement rather than a less formal “confidence and supply” deal. The DUP won 0.9% of the total vote in the General Election.

However, concerns have also been raised that such an agreement could seriously undermine the Good Friday agreement.

In a surprising outcome for many, Theresa May’s conservative party lost 13 Parliamentary seats across the country, including Warwick & Leamington by just 1,206 votes. In contrast Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party gained an extra 29 seats, to bring their total to 261. The Labour Party also gained 40% of the total number of votes this year, with the Conservatives securing 42.4%.

Speaking outside Downing Street about the DUP, Mrs May stated that: “Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years. And this gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole of the United Kingdom.”

This morning also saw two of Theresa May’s top aides, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, resign with the BBC reporting that they were seen by critical MPs as an obstacle to Mrs May adopting a more: “outgoing, inclusive, responsive, empathetic approach.”

Nick Timothy has taken responsibility for the election result and the Party’s social care plans, with May warned that she faced a leadership challenge if they remained.

Both Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron have denounced Mrs May’s plans to form a minority government, calling on the Prime Minister to resign and: “make way for a government that represents the people of this country”.

68.7% of the population turned out to vote in yesterday’s election, compared to only 66.1% in 2015, with more than 600,000 names added to the electoral roll in the final 24 hours.

Rumours of a youth turnout as high as 72% of 18-24 year olds voting have been highly publicised by figures such as David Lammy, but are yet to be confirmed.

In contrast, just 43% of young people voted in the last general election.

Labour Candidate Matt Western was elected as the new Member of Parliament for Warwick and Leamington, beating former Conservative MP Chris White with 25,227 votes (46.7% vote share). The Warwick & Leamington constituency is known as the “bellwether seat”, as it often changes hands between Labour and the Conservative Party, usually swinging towards whichever party forms the new government.

Matt Western described his victory as an: “astonishing and an extraordinary win for the Labour party”.

He went onto add that: “We recognised at the time that we had something special, we had a promise… that resonated with [our] voters”.

Labour candidate Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) also reclaimed his seat, with Conservative Candidate Jeremy Wright being re-elected as MP for Kenilworth and Southam.

A minority Conservative government has led many to speculate over the future of key educational issues such as school and university funding and the creation of new grammar schools, which the DUP is known to support.

Speaking to The Boar last month Matt Western vowed to: “restore public health care services and support the Health and Care Commission, press for Stagecoach to reverse their terms and conditions concerning lost bus passes, and continue with the Labour party’s commitment to build low-cost housing units to support those who are homeless”.

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