UK Election 2015: Surprise result

(12th May 2015)

All the polls were in agreement in the weeks leading up to 7th May – it was going to be neck and neck between the Conservatives and the Labour Party. So there was much surprise when the results of the exit poll were announced at 10pm British time on 7th May. The exit poll showed a clear Conservative majority with over 300 of the 650 seats and Labour lagging almost 100 seats behind.

  British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha arrive back at 10 Downing Street in London following his surprising victory in the election on 7th May. (NTBscanpix) British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha arrive back at 10 Downing Street in London following his surprising victory in the election on 7th May. (NTBscanpix)

The politicians were equally surprised by the results of the exit poll. Paddy Ashdown, ex-leader of the Liberal Democrats, said he would eat his hat if the exit poll results turned out to be true. However, as the night continued and the results started to come in, it turned out that the exit poll was indeed true. In fact, it had underestimated the amount of votes the Conservatives would get.

The final result looked like this:

Conservative Party - 331

Labour Party - 232

Scottish National Party (SNP) - 56

Liberal Democrats - 8

UKIP - 1

Green – 1

The Conservative Party needed 326 seats to win the election. The result means that they do not need to go into a coalition with any of the other parties. David Cameron will continue as Prime Minister in a government where all ministers will be from the Conservative Party. The SNP has won unprecedented support in Scotland. Of the 59 seats available in Scotland, the SNP won 56 of them. This means that the Labour Party has lost a lot of seats. The loss of the Scottish seats is one of the major reasons why the Labour Party has done so badly in this election.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon takes a selfie with young SNP supporters (NTBscanpix) First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon takes a selfie with young SNP supporters (NTBscanpix)

Of all the parties, the Liberal Democrats has come out worst. In the 2010 election the Lib Dems had 57 seats and were the third largest party in the UK. But they became very unpopular during the coalition with the Conservatives, and this has led to them losing 49 seats in the 2015 election.

The day after the election, there was only one thing left for the leaders of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats to do – they resigned their positions. Currently the parties are without leaders and are involved in discussion as to what went wrong and what they can do to win back the support of the British people in time for the next election.

The leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, also resigned. His party were never expected to win many seats, but Farage didn’t get enough votes himself to become a Member of Parliament. Farage said in his resignation speech that he might stand again as leader of UKIP in the autumn, but his resignation didn’t even last that long. He’s already back as the leader. For Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, however, their careers as party leader are over.

 

TASKS

1 Understanding the text
What do these phrases mean? Explain them in your own words.

  • “Labour was lagging behind”
  • “he would eat his hat”
  • “they won unprecedented support”
  • “they came out worst”
  • “their careers are over”

 

2 Numbers

a) There are lots of numbers in the text. What do these numbers refer to?

  • 650
  • 331
  • 56
  • 49
  • 1

b) Write a paragraph about the results of the election using the numbers given in the text.

 

3 What’s happening in British politics now?

a) During the next few weeks, David Cameron will be forming his new government and outlining his policies. Look at the British newspapers (first link below) and find out what is going on. Report back to your class.

b) On 27th May, the new parliament will open with an official ceremony and the Queen’s Speech. Read about the state opening of parliament in the second link below. Look at the newspapers on the 27th or 28th May and see what happens at the opening of parliament. What does the Queen say in her speech?

 

Exit poll

The exit poll is done after people vote. Before they leave the voting station, people are asked to tick off on a list which party they have voted for. The exit poll usually gives a fairly accurate view of what the result of the election is going to be.