The prospect of political turmoil just as formal Brexit talks begin has been raised following a projection by polling company YouGov which says that the U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May could lose control of parliament in Britain’s June 8 election.
Though other models show May winning a big majority of as much as 142 seats and a Kantar poll showed her lead widening, May would lose 20 seats and her 17-seat working majority in the 650-seat British parliament, the YouGov model suggested.
The new government will have to complete the complicated talks, due to start shortly after the election, on Britain’s divorce from the European Union, and if the YouGov model turns out to be accurate, May would be well short of the 326 seats needed to form a government.
May’s Conservative Party was found to be just three percentage points ahead of the Labour opposition, which has been eating into her lead since the start of the campaign, in a later poll, a separate regular survey carried out by YouGov for Thursday’s Times newspaper.
The YouGov survey said that with Labour up three points, the Conservatives were on 42 percent, down a point from last week.
Strengthening her grip on the Conservative Party, to win more time to deal with the impact of the divorce and strengthening her hand in Brexit negotiations, were the reasons that May had called the snap election.
But her authority could be undermined just as she tries to deliver what she has told voters will be a successful Brexit and her electoral gamble will have failed if she does not handsomely beat the 12-seat majority Cameron won in 2015.
In order to continue governing either as a coalition or a minority government, she would be forced to strike a deal with another party, if May fails to win an overall majority.
Questions about British policy on a range of issues including corporate taxation and government spending and borrowing, Britain’s $2.5 trillion economy and the future of Brexit, would be raised by that scenario.
Opinion polls suggested she could emulate Margaret Thatcher’s 1983 majority of 144 seats or even threaten Tony Blair’s 1997 Labour majority of 179 seats when May stunned politicians and financial markets on April 18 with her call for a snap election.
But after she set out plans on May 18 to make some elderly people pay a greater share of their care costs, a proposal dubbed the “dementia tax” by opponents, May’s rating fell sharply even though initial polls had shown May’s rating slipping over the past month.
With some of a total of eight polls suggesting she might not win the landslide predicted just a month ago, the polls showed May’s lead over the Labour Party narrowing, since the May 22 Manchester suicide attack, when the eight polls were carried out.
Saying that the only poll that mattered was the election on June 8, May dodged the question when asked by a reporter if she would resign if she lost seats.
YouGov said that May has a lead of just 3 percentage points by its election model which was based on voting intention figures.
(Adapted from CNBC)