Out of all the parties in the U.K. general election 2017, the SNP losses were the biggest shock. After gaining 56 out of 59 Scottish seats in 2015, the Scottish National Party dropped to just 35 after the June 8 election. Nicola Sturgeon has admitted that Indyref2 is partially to blame for this loss, but doesn’t view the subject “dead.”
It was a night of highs and lows in Britain. The general election 2017 exit polls showed that Prime Minister Theresa May would win the election but fail to gain a majority. As the vote counts came in through the night, that is what happened. Labour took a number of seats throughout England, particularly in the high student population areas.
However, the Conservatives made it through thanks to gains in Scotland. Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was ecstatic at the news that her party had made big strides, stating that the results show Indyref2 is “dead.”
Indyref2 was being pushed by Scottish First Minister Sturgeon after the Brexit vote. Scotland voting to remain in the European Union but being overpowered by the larger English voices made it clear for Sturgeon that Westminster would never put Scotland first. However, many Scottish people shared on social media that they didn’t want a second independence referendum.
The first referendum in 2014 had divided the country. After the results, there were riots around the country, with some people fearful of walking through some parts. Many Scots have made it clear that they don’t want this again, and the general election has been the chance to start pushing Sturgeon’s SNP MPs out of Westminster.
According to BBC News, Ms. Davidson is calling for Sturgeon to now take Indyref2 “off the table.” The general election 2017 saw Davidson’s party gain 12 seats from 2015, now holding 13 seats in Westminster and seeing the best result in Scotland since 1983. The other eight seats were taken by Labour and Liberal Democrat members, who have also called for Indyref2 to be removed from the main focus for Scottish politics.
Sturgeon does admit that Indyref2 may have been partially to blame. While she says that the topic isn’t completely “dead,” it is clear that it isn’t the right time now to discuss it. The SNPs will remove the topic for now and reassess Scotland’s needs. Sturgeon believes there were other factors at play that contributed to the loss of 21 seats in Westminster.
Two of the SNPs biggest losses are Angus Robertson, the party’s deputy leader, and Alex Salmond, Scotland’s former first minister. Stephen Gethins held onto his seat but only by two votes, with the Liberal Democrats putting extreme pressure on the North East Fife seat.
Unfortunately for the Conservatives, there were some major losses in England and other parts of the U.K. There are now calls for Ms. May to step down and for Ms. Davidson to take the position as leader of the Conservatives party instead of just the Scottish branch. Ms. May shows no signs of stepping down despite claims that the general election 2017 was a rash and bad decision.
After discussing Indyref2’s part in the SNP’s defeat, Sturgeon echoed beliefs that Ms. May should step down as PM. Sturgeon believes that Ms. May wrongly assumed that she would get a strong and stable government, and it has caused more uncertainty for Britain having such a weaker majority in the House of Commons.
Ms. May now needs to arrange an alliance with another party. She is currently looking at the DUP in Northern Ireland, which would likely mean a softer Brexit since the DUP wants to maintain good ties with its friends south of the border.
[Featured Image by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images]