London skyline, with Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower) in the background. (Photo: James Kemp)

Yesterday’s unexpected announcement of a snap election for 8 June is an interesting development for the UK government. It makes complete sense when you view things with a Conservative party lens.

  • The Conservatives are massively ahead in the polls.
  • The Labour party clearly aren’t united enough for an election (especially as it is three years early).
  • It deals with the jibes that the Prime Minister has no electoral mandate (whether you believe those claims or not).

Caveats on Polls

Opinion polls have significant margins of error. I’ve blogged about this previously several times. Mid term polls are especially prone to large errors. Voters blatantly misdirect pollsters, or simply change their minds on the day. Either way the apparent 25 point Conservative lead over the Labour part doesn’t mean there will be a Conservative landslide.

Perspectives on a Snap Election

Labour Party

The Labour party is riven. Few of the supporters that I know want Corbyn as a leader. From the outside looking it is clear that he doesn’t have the respect of the party as a whole. This will no doubt affect the willingness of people to canvass, and also to turn out and vote.

What is probable is that the snap election means that most MPs will be automatically reselected as candidates by their constituency party.  This will help galvanise the part faithful in support of sitting MPs that they respect. It might also leave little time for other constituencies to select people vetted for their far left wing credentials.

An general election campaign will focus Labour minds on winning against the government. So expect less infighting and more rallying round. Sensible MPs will prefer to be in power than to spend five more years in opposition. So expect even Blairites to support Corbyn in public.

Overall though, I’d be surprised if it lead to a significant change in the number of Labour MPs. There may even be a small decline.


It will be well-nigh impossible for the SNAP to do any better than they did in the 2015 General Election. Unless they plan to field candidates in English constituencies I expect that they will probably lose a handful of their seats. Only a few though, SNP play well at the Scottish electorate and their messages are well-tailored to that audience.

Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems were roundly punished in 2015 for their compromises when in coalition. There will be some people who will never forgive them for tuition fees. However, after two years of Conservative government most people recognise that the Lib Dems put a brake on their worst policies. I’d expect them to win back some of the seats that they lost to the Conservatives in 2015.

Another factor in the Lib Dems favour is that they are the only major party that are pro-EU. There are a lot of disappointed Remain voters that might switch to the Lib Dems. I’m not sure that there are enough of these anywhere to make a huge difference, but I’d expect the Lib Dem vote share in the snap election to be significantly higher than 2015.


UKIP are both a spent force and highly vocal. They have a broad swathe of voters across the country. Yet they haven’t got MPs other than the odd defector. The one they did have from 2015 has changed allegiance. That said the party clearly touched nerves with the EU referendum and have pushed the other parties to openly support Brexit. They are good at pushing the Overton Window, despite what you might think of where they’ve pushed it to.

It’s very hard to understand where UKIP might go. Maybe there will be some astute campaigns and a few UKIP MPs might appear. More likely many UKIP voters will either stay away, or vote Conservative.

Other Influences

People talk about hacking and fake news. There’ll be a lot of fake news. Just don’t believe anything.