Theresa May left red-faced by hung parliament after General Election gamble

By Jon Craig

Chief Political Correspondent

She’d had a haircut, put on her brightest crimson lipstick and the tomato-red two-piece she always wears on high-profile occasions.

Clearly Theresa May was expecting to be celebrating a Conservative triumph and the biggest Tory landslide since Margaret Thatcher won a majority of 102 in 1987.

But as she stood waiting for the declaration in her Maidenhead constituency just before 3.30am, the Prime Minister had a face like thunder.

When she spoke, her voice was cracking. She sounded – as well as looked – badly shaken. She must know her days as Prime Minister are numbered.

By calling for a “period of stability” in her acceptance speech, she sounded as if she was pleading with Conservative MPs not to move to oust her just yet.

Oh dear! Her gamble of a snap election to win a Brexit mandate had horribly backfired. Despite her plea, members of her Cabinet were already plotting.

Close allies like Ben Gummer had lost their seats and the woman some saw as a potential Chancellor and future Tory leader, Amber Rudd, was taken to two recounts.

Many Tories would claim it was no more than the pipsqueak Gummer deserved. After all, they would argue, he was the clown who wrote the vote-losing manifesto.

A week ago, some were tipping him for promotion to the Cabinet and possibly even taking over as Brexit Secretary from David Davis. Rough old game, politics.

But it wasn’t just the Conservatives who suffered big-name casualties.

Back in 1997, the cry went up: “Were you still up for Portillo?”

At the last election, in 2015, the question was whether you were you still up for Ed Balls and Vince Cable.

This time, perhaps the most stunning casualty was Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister.

Not surprisingly, his face was a picture of gloom and dejection as it became clear that he was crashing to defeat.

It must have hurt even more because just as he was losing in Sheffield Hallam, Vince Cable was winning back his old Twickenham seat.

Later, another Lib Dem member of the 2010-15 Coalition cabinet, Ed Davey, won his old seat back, too.

Then, within an hour of predicting that Theresa May would be gone within 48 hours, Alex Salmond lost his seat in Aberdeenshire, following the defeat of the SNP’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, earlier.

Contrast the mood in Maidenhead with that in Islington. We should have known something was up when we saw two police officers standing guard outside Mr Corbyn’s home just before 10pm.

Did somebody tip off the Metropolitan Police that the Labour leader’s status was about to be enhanced by the shock exit poll predicting a hung Parliament?

Earlier this week, Mr Corbyn sounded rather foolish when two days before polling day he called on the Prime Minister to resign over cuts in police manpower.

He sounded much more convincing when, in his victory speech in Islington, he called on her to quit after the election results showed Labour holding on to seats the party previously thought were vulnerable to the Tories.

Back in Maidenhead, Mrs May faced – and ignored – questions over whether she was going to resign as she arrived in the hall for the result of her count.

Who would have thought as recently as two days ago that it would be Theresa May facing questions about her future on election night and not Jeremy Corbyn?

Despite Mr Corbyn’s better than expected performance, however, there will be plenty of Labour MPs who will claim that with a better leader the party could have won a handsome election victory.

But that’s churlish. Mr Corbyn, too, was looking his smartest on election night: a neat, dark suit and a red tie as bright as Theresa May’s lipstick.

He’s never going to be a fashion icon. But he does seem to have heeded the advice David Cameron passed on from his mother at PMQs last year: “Put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem.”

He’s done the first two. He just needs to learn to do the third!

And as for Theresa May, after results like these, she’s left with a face as red as her crimson lipstick and Mr Corbyn’s tie.



Facebook Comments

You May Also Like

SuperWebTricks Loading...
  • :
  • :
error: Content is protected !!