Election 2017: The Irony of May!

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Will this government make it as far as the State Opening?

She wanted a tenancy renewal, she got a statutory periodic – there’s no reason she can’t stay put as long as she fulfils her part of the bargain, but there’s no guarantees.

It’s a stretch of a PRS analogy, but a fairly illustrative one given the gambit Mrs May relied upon, and the outcome that she must face up to this morning.

Amongst all of the upheaval and uncertainty, there is a certain irony to the fact that it was Theresa May who must accept responsibility for the mess her party finds itself in this morning.  The word ‘may’ as a distinct etymology, citing its origin in the old-English ‘maeg’, which means to ‘have power’ – not gamble it away.

The absurdity continued when you consider that, used as a verb, ‘may’ is used to ask for or give permission. For example:

  • May I be your Prime Minister?
  • You may form a Government.

The fatefulness of Prime Minister May’s fall from grace may not be the most important topic of conversation today, but it’s arguably a nice distraction from supply and confidence deals, exit polls and coalition talks.

But I digress…..

With one seat left to declare (hurry up Kensington) it looks like the Conservative party will remain in power, propped up by a supply and confidence deal with the DUP.

Buoyed by a circa 10 per cent increase in the polls and a 2 per cent swing from the Tories, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party will be invigorated to make mischief – perhaps even offering an opposition for however long this parliament lasts.

Thanks to the nature of the Westminster system the Lib Dems managed to make no real headway in terms of their share of the vote, but gain 4 seats in the Commons. Their leader Tim Farron has categorically ruled out the possibility of formal coalition, but don’t rule out backroom deals and a certain degree of power brokering.

Meanwhile everything tips on the status of Northern Ireland. Assuming that the 7 Sinn Fein MPs continue to refuse to take their seats – and I see no reason why they would suddenly agree to swear allegiance to the Crown – then the Conservative DUP pact has a little breathing room.

So what happens next?

Theresa May will go to the Palace and be invited to form a government. We’ll probably find out who will form her new Cabinet later today, crucially if she feels able to move Chancellor Philip Hammond, with junior appointments following over the next few days.

Positions to watch for landlords at this point will be:

  • The Chancellor and his/her Treasury team. Tax remains the most pressing issue for the PRS and personalities can play a major role. There is speculation that May and Hammond do not get on, but she may not have the opportunity to move a figure who represents a ‘safe pair of hands’ for the City of London.

Additionally, Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison lost her seat to Labour last night meaning that changes are now inevitable.

  • Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Housing Minister. Incumbent Housing Minister Gavin Barwell looked a certainty at the Cabinet table, until he lost his Croydon Central seat early this morning. The SoS Sajid Javid looked certain for either demotion or a sideways move, now all bets are off.
  • Welfare Reform ministerial team. This could be a poison chalice; it’s a big job and will no doubt be the focus of much opposition pressure.

Not to mention BEIS, which will dictate landlords’ responsibilities concerning energy efficiency in the very near future and the whole thorny issue of exiting the EU – but that’s for another day.

Once the team is in place?

Then we move on to the Queen’s Speech on the 19th of June. The Tory/DUP pact should have sufficient clout to push this through, but the level of ambition contained within will be indicative of the type of parliament (and government) we have in store.

Further ahead?

Most likely more of the same, Theresa May will likely survive for the short-term but post-Brexit all it’s anybody’s guess. I suspect a deal has already been done with the all-powerful 1922 Committee about the embattled leader’s future.

If all else fails, there’s always the possibility of revisiting 1974 and calling a second election for the Autumn…….

If nothing else we are facing interesting times.

Those yet to become truly sick and tired of election coverage can read more on the topic from our partners at UKALA in the Letting Blog

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