Not another election?
The previous general election held in June 2017 returned a Conservative minority government, forcing the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, into an electoral pact with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). This pact allowed the Conservative party to govern but left them in a much weaker position within the UK’s House of Commons. May’s Brexit strategy was severely compromised as a result, with MPs rejecting her Brexit deal three times in early 2019, forcing her to delay the Brexit, and to resign as Prime Minister. The successor to May, Boris Johnson, managed to get preliminary approval for his deal, but not for his preferred timeline. As a result, Brexit was delayed once again, to January 31, 2020, giving the UK a chance to break the current deadlock through an election.
The main issues
Brexit has dominated the British political landscape since 2016 and was probably the main issue for many voters when deciding who to vote for. The Conservative Party aimed to leave the EU with Boris Johnson’s deal, while the Labour Party intended to strike a different deal, and to put that to a public vote. Other parties such as the Liberal Democrats and SNP sought to remain in the EU, while the Brexit Party simply wanted to leave the EU without a deal. Both Labour and the Conservative announced bold public spending plans in areas such as healthcare and the police force after almost a decade of austerity.