Tories Form New Government

By Naveed Qazi | Editor, Globe Upfront

After emerging as the largest party in the UK 2017 General Election, the Conservatives have negotiated a deal with Northern Ireland based Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to form the new government.

Theresa May was short of absolute majority, but she made the deal with DUP leader Arlene Foster by taking ten of its legislators on board, under the deadline to avoid any form of political crises.

Tories won their highest vote share since 1983. This is the second time Tories will be forming a back-to-back coalition government. They earlier did it with the Liberal Democrats under the leadership of Nick Clegg after the hung parliament in the last to last election. Opinion polls had also shown Tories in lead against Labour and these polls eventually showed the outcome in the election result.

Much of this election was centred around Brexit debate. The Prime Minister’s Office had rejected any form of one on one televised debate this time around. Despite this, BBC and ITV called for televised debates, but Labour ruled out Jeremy Corbyn participating in them without Theresa May. However, in the month of May this year, Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May, Tim Farron and others did appear in individual interviews.

The controversies on Brexit, which formed the backbone of this election, had started when David Cameron resigned as UK Prime Minister, following a referendum that narrowly called for an exit from the European Union. Opinion polls, contrarily, had suggested that the people would remain in the EU. 

When David Cameron called for a fresh leadership to stir the country into a new direction, many people in the country revolted the referendum result, as they thought that European integration was a vital part of British values. Tories, however, had ensured commitment on the Brexit process in the 2017 election campaigns.

The negotiated agreement for alliance has made it clear that the Brexit deal will pass through the parliament and DUP will also endorse Tories on national security, the budget and finance bills. Importantly, the deal will also endorse 2% spending on defence investment target as per NATO requirements and be adhering to the provisions of Good Friday Agreement.

The EU has told Britain that the negotiations must be concluded by the autumn of 2018, to allow a six-month ratification process, something which Theresa May has apparently agreed to privately.

Critics of Theresa May have called the negotiated deal for government formation as a ‘political bribe’ to DUP, which will help May to cushion herself for the smooth functioning of the government till the next election. It is because she has allowed an extra £1 billion in funding to Northern Ireland, far more than other regions like North East England.  Many analysts believe that DUP is exploiting Theresa May’s weak position by securing extra funding to Northern Ireland in public services.

Political analysts also believe that Brexit deal will impose misery on the people of Northern Ireland who had mostly voted to remain in the European Union, like the Scotland region.

Labour Party has warned that the current deal will jeopardise ‘the trust in the impartiality of the British Government,’ which was a vital part of the Good Friday Agreement.

The commitment to scrap the Human Rights Act, end the jurisdiction of the European court of justice and end the role of the European convention on human rights is a direct violation on the human rights enshrined in the Good Friday agreement.

In the years of Tory government, the cuts on austerity have been immense throughout the country that has already had a bad impact on public services.

Recent law will now make millions of EU nationals living in the UK apply to a “settled status” register and might be given ID cards as part of new plans laid out by the Home Office. The 150,000 people who have already applied for permanent resident status since the Brexit referendum will have to apply again.

UK is also home to a vibrant South Asian community consisting of three million Muslims, out of which one million are British Kashmiris.

There also have been protests involving anti-DUP and anti-Conservative slogans, especially near the Parliament Square in Westminster, London. The attendance was up to 8,000 on issues of housing, NHS, jobs and education. Some of the placards read ‘Pray DUP Away’ and ‘Tories Out, Don’t Be Duped.’

Angry protestors had also charged the car of Theresa May in London passing insulting comments on her some time back. More than half a million people had also signed an online petition calling on the Conservatives not to do a deal with the DUP and urging Theresa May to resign.

However, we can see that the Conservatives - DUP deal is done and drafted now. Theresa May will likely resume office, but she has a huge burden of responsibility on her shoulders and will have to make many tactical retreats. Only 7 rebel MP’s can put the government down. More rifts in the UK Parliament will create more instabilities and uncertainties.

Labour in opposition believe that the people's voice resonate through them. This party in opposition will likely be a harsh critic of Tories under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and will make no stone unturned in promoting their agenda of progressive democratic socialism.


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