Earlier today, to the surprise of many, Theresa May called a snap general election and announced that she intends for it to be held on 8th June 2017. This is a rather fitting date, given that this will be 34 years (less one day) since Margaret Thatcher's infamous landslide victory of 1983, and Theresa May is only the second female Prime Minister of the UK. Tomorrow, Parliament will almost certainly vote to approve this move, given that almost every party now backs an early general election to end this speculation and uncertainty.
So what will it all mean?
Well, since there will only be a short time to campaign, and because Labour are so divided, the Conservatives are on course to achieve a much increased majority, and possibly even a 3-figure landslide victory and win seats they have never won in living memory. In many ways this would be reminiscent of Harold Wilson's victory of 1966, which not only increased Labour's small majority of 4 straight up to 96 but also delivered seats that had never before been in Labour hands, such as Monmouth, High Peak, and Lancaster. Many Labour seats that have been in Labour hands since at least 1945 are now vulnerable again to the Conservatives, and these include such places as North East Derbyshire, Newcastle-under-Lyme, and Bishop Auckland. Even constituencies held by Labour for longer than that, such as Mansfield and Workington, are potentially vulnerable when Labour loses hold of key voters and UKIP voters end up backing the Conservatives due to their firm support for implementing Brexit. Any revival the Liberal Democrats speak of will be largely limited to their former heartlands in the South West of England, and a few other constituencies where they have built up a strong local profile. The Green Party are set to make at least one gain in the midst of all this, with the seats most winnable for the Greens being Bristol West, Sheffield Central and the Isle of Wight. Opinion polls may be saying different things, but because the respondents to opinion polls are often younger than average, they are not particularly trustworthy even with improvements to polling methods. UKIP, meanwhile, will almost certainly be the biggest loser of this snap election, with its only MP Douglas Carswell having left the party and many financial backers, especially Arron Banks, having pulled the plug; whether Arron Banks will stand against Douglas Carswell in Clacton remains to be seen.
It also means that investigations into misrepresentation on election expenses by 24 Conservative MPs who were elected in 2015 will be overlooked in media terms, since the general election will take place after the CPS decides whether to prosecute, meaning that some of these MPs may leave Parliament anyway. This is because many of them narrowly won seats from the Liberal Democrats in 2015 and are likely to lose them this time around-keep an eye on county council elections in Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset in particular.
Predictions party by party for this snap election (for Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens, and SNP/Plaid Cymru) coming soon.