13:50 GMT +318 August 2019
Listen Live
    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May makes a speech at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in central London while on the General Election campaign trail. Monday June 5, 2017.

    UK General Election 2017: Politicians, Policies, Polls

    © AP Photo / Andrew Matthews
    Europe
    Get short URL
    UK General Election 2017 (130)
    5122

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May has seen her Conservative Party's lead over the main opposition Labour Party slip in the weeks since she called a snap general election she wanted to use to consolidate her grip on power, having inherited a working majority in the House of Commons of just 17.

    Theresa May became Conservative Party leader — and, therefore, prime minister — after the resignation of David Cameron, who announced his intention to quit the day after the UK voted, in a referendum, June 23, to leave the European Union.

    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the Dhamecha Lohana Centre in north west London, where she is meeting Conservative party general election candidates from across London and the south east of England, Monday May 8, 2017. Britain will hold a general election on June 8
    © AP Photo / Stefan Rousseau
    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the Dhamecha Lohana Centre in north west London, where she is meeting Conservative party general election candidates from across London and the south east of England, Monday May 8, 2017. Britain will hold a general election on June 8

    Once in office, Theresa May announced she would trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon — formally beginning the process of leaving the EU — by the end of March 2017.  She said, in her first few months in office, she would not call a general election that would give her a personal mandate as prime minister. 

    However, she changed her mind and called an election, when she knew she would face no opposition from the Labour Party, the majority of whose MPs — largely opposed to its leader, Jeremey Corbyn — wanted an election to lose it so that they could depose Corbyn.

    Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, waves at a campaign event in Reading, May 31, 2017.
    © REUTERS / Peter Nicholls
    Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, waves at a campaign event in Reading, May 31, 2017.

    At that time, May had a working majority of only 17 and she went to the country demanding a mandate for the upcoming Brexit negotiations. She wanted to win a landslide victory and all the polls showed she would get it.

    On April 18 — the day May announced the election — her party stood at 48 percent in the opinion polls, against Labour's 23 percent — a huge lead of 25 percent, according to pollsters ICM, which was likely to give her an unassailable win in the general election.

    Roll on a few weeks — and with just four days to go before the election, June 8 — her party's lead has slipped to just eleven points, with her Conservative Party of 45 percent, against Labour's 34 percent.

    ​So why has May managed to lose so much? The first answer lies in the fact that she is known as the "Ice Woman" because very few people ever get close to her and she has shown — in TV interviews — herself to be uncomfortable on camera.

    Second, she has refused to appear in a head-to-head TV debate with Jeremy Corbyn, which critics say is a sign that she is "frit" — to use the north English expression, meaning "afraid" — of contesting against him.

    Third, despite her desires to show herself as "strong and stable" — a phrase she has used time after time since calling the election — she is being seen by many as weak, after a series of policy U-turns, beginning with her decision to call an election, when she had previously said she would not.

    Dementia Tax

    By far the most damaging U-turn was on the so-called "dementia tax" — the manifesto pledge to make people pay for their social care if they have assets above £100,000 (US$129,000). The controversy sparked a row because those who receive state-funded care at home will be worse off if they have assets of more than £100,000 — such as if they own their home.

    ​This was a huge blow to older people — particularly those that Theresa May needs within the Conservative Party to vote for her, June 8. She then announced that the total amount people would have to pay for social care would be capped, but this was not enough the prevent a backlash towards her.

    As she heads for the ballot box, Theresa May is facing the possibility that many Conservative voters may simply not turn out, handing the advantage to Labour. 

    Worse still, she could end up with nothing like the landslide victory she was due to get when she called the election. Her claims of being a "strong and stable" leader are looking increasingly weak and unstable.

    She can only hope, privately, that her quick and robust response to the latest terrorist attack can go somewhere close to showing her strength as a leader, but she could not possibly comment on that.

    Topic:
    UK General Election 2017 (130)

    Related:

    UK Conservatives Down 1% in 1 Week to 45%, Retain Lead Over Labour
    Gap Between UK Tories, Labour Narrows to 1% Ahead of June General Election
    Labour's Poll Surge Has Establishment 'Pundits' in a Flap
    UK's Labour Party Narrows Gap on Conservatives to 6% Ahead of General Election
    Tags:
    Brexit negotiations, election campaign, voters, public opinion, polls, Brexit, polling, referendum, election, UK General Election 2017, UK Government, UK Parliament, YouGov, Labour Party, Conservative Party, Jeremy Corbyn, David Cameron, Theresa May, Britain, United Kingdom, London
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik