General Election 2017: One Week On

Posted on 14/6/2017 by Katherine Memery

It’s been nearly a week since the British people took to the polls to cast their vote in one of the most unpredictable elections in living memory. In line with the exit poll, Theresa May’s Conservatives lost their majority in Parliament and the Corbyn-led Labour Party made significant gains across the country.

Despite the considerable turnout, particularly among younger voters, the election resulted in a hung parliament, leaving us all unsure about of the direction the country will take over the next few months as we slowly move closer to Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May is currently in talks with the Democratic Unionists, as the Conservatives attempt to improve the government’s weakened mandate and form an informal coalition with the Northern Irish party. However, as a result of the DUP’s Eurosceptic stance and conservative views on abortion and same-sex marriage, concerns have been raised by figures from both ends of the political spectrum about the direction this partnership might take the country.

While the polls fluctuated daily ahead of the election, in our survey of lawyers we found that half were planning on backing the Labour Party, with only 18% pledging to vote for the Conservatives. While the Tories managed to secure a much greater support on June 8th, our predictions for the Labour result weren’t miles away from the party’s share of the vote.

In fact, a recent poll by Lord Ashcroft has shown that half of voters aged 25-44 (the age group to which many of the lawyers we spoke to belong), opted for Jeremy Corbyn’s party, with 30% backing voting the Tories. It is thought that Corbyn’s popularity amongst younger voters played a considerable role in the final result.

The Realm survey results also revealed that 10% of lawyers intended to vote for the Liberal Democrats. This figure also wasn’t far off the actual result, with Tim Farron’s party securing the support of 7% of voters.

While the views of the legal profession are arguably not representative of those of the electorate as a whole, after a late surge in support for the Labour party, interestingly, our findings weren’t poles apart from the election result. Perhaps pre-election polls are more reliable than we give them credit for!

Over the coming weeks, at Realm, we, like the rest of the country, will be watching closely as Theresa May attempts to hold onto her position in Downing Street. Will the prime minister be able to garner the support she needs from the Democratic Unionist Party to help her ‘strong and stable’ government navigate Britain’s exit from the European Union? Or will Jeremy Corbyn form a rival alliance with the Greens, Liberal Democrats and the SNP?

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