Theresa May used to say an election would cause “instability”. Now she says it’s the only way to stop instability. So which is it?
Many people have been left confused by the recent turn of events and May’s change of heart. But the real question is; why are we having a snap election, especially considering May has consistently assured the UK there would be no election til 2020.
Nicola Sturgeon (SNP leader) has claimed that May called the snap election in part because she feared that numerous Tory MPs would be prosecuted for fraud over their election expenses.
The Crown Prosecution Service is now looking at the cases of 30 Tory MPs and agents, who have been investigated for breaking spending rules at the last General Election in 2015.
The allegations have been probed by 14 police forces after claims that the Conservatives’ ‘battlebus’ campaign broke legal spending limits in several key marginal seats.
Personally, I don’t believe May’s had a ‘change of heart’. I believe she was truthful in what she’s said over the last months, that her intentions were to stay on til 2020. As stated earlier, May says this election is the only way to stop instability but for whom? The UK or the Tory party?
You see, the plot thickens when we delve into the real reasons behind the snap election and the Tories fears over expenses as only last month the Tories were hit by the Electoral Commission with a record £70,000 fine – the maximum – for failing to declare their spending. The forces involved are Avon & Somerset, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon & Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, West Mercia, West Midlands, West Yorkshire and the Met.
If there had been no election, any convictions could have meant MPs were found guilty and would be forced to stand down, and elections be rerun. A General Election makes this much less of a threat, especially if May manages to increase her meagre majority.
As a result of this semi-secret crisis, the Tory campaign this time will have to be a good deal more cautious about such things, which may weaken it, especially if the campaign goes wrong.
Even now the affair could be highly damaging – but early in a new Parliament, with a secure majority, the Government should be able to weather it far better than if May had soldiered on.
But all elections are risks and it’s amazing how often governments lose control of them.