The Story Since 2015
- A week is a long time in politics, let alone two years. The Conservative majority increased in the 2015 general election, leading Ed Miliband to stand down as Labour leader and Nick Clegg to leave his post with the Liberal Democrats. David Cameron didn’t stay much longer as PM, though, as he decided to step aside last June after Britain voted to leave the European Union.
- Theresa May took up the reins following a chaotic leadership race, and in March the formal process of Brexit began after she signed the letter to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, beginning ‘divorce’ proceedings from the EU. She had previously insisted it was not the time to call a snap election, but made the shock announcement as “the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead”.
- The other parties have been accused of ‘game playing’ by May but will now get the chance to appeal to voters at a general election. Key players include Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, whose own party has been ravaged by in-fighting since he replaced Miliband, and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon, who believes Scotland should have the right to hold another independence referendum following the vote to leave the EU.
When it comes to political predictions, there is an element of taking nothing for granted following recent results. Theresa May’s popularity has never been tested by the public at a general election, Jeremy Corbyn has a core of loyal supporters and voters up and down the country will have reassessed their views following the events of the last couple of years. However, May clearly feels that not only is a general election the right thing for the country, but also that she cannot lose.
The Conservatives began the campaign a massive 21 points clear in the opinion polls and there was a perception among the public that Labour was in disarray under Corbyn. However, May has come under pressure as the weeks have gone on and Corbyn has certainly worn the look of someone who has relished the battle, despite facing some tough questions of his own. The odds of a hung parliament have been slashed as a result in the lead-up to Thursday's big day.
The Liberal Democrats may pick up the odd MP but the SNP already holds 56 of 59 seats in Scotland so can’t do too much more damage. It is a calculated gamble by May and she will be looking to increase the Conservative majority so that she can lead from an even stronger position through a difficult period. Reports suggest that looks less likely now than it did a few weeks ago, but political polls have been famously unreliable over the past couple of years. The Conservatives won 331 seats in 2015 and the best bet for punters may be to wager on the Conservatives winning a similar amount. You can get a price of 3/1 that the Tories will win 326-350 seats, covering a result which would probably satisfy May after a tough campaign.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Conservatives to win most seats - 1/20
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.