by Graham Pierrepoint
The UK media is still reeling from the shock announcement that the country will be heading towards a snap general election in early June, just over a month away – and with the decision hot on the heels of Article 50 having been activated to start the Brexit process, many people are keen to point out that the move by Prime Minister Theresa May was a shrewd one – particularly as it will take advantage of some of the widest poll leads that the governing Conservative Party have experienced in some time – not even under David Cameron nor the coalition of a few years ago.
All eyes, therefore, head back to leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn – the left-leaning Labour leader who has faced criticism from inside and outside his party on his ability to lead, and who is currently trailing behind May in opinion polls by at least twenty points at the time of writing. This, to some, indicates that he could be facing the chop either before or immediately after the latest results are revealed – but, at present, it seems that the MP is to maintain his position and that he will fight May in the run-up to the polls. Those who voted against Brexit may be keen to vote Liberal Democrat as they have persistently campaigned for a second referendum – but with only a handful of MPs between them, and with Labour’s chances of success currently looking slim, several are suggesting that a deal could be struck between smaller parties to combat the Conservatives.
For Corbyn, however, the next month will likely make or break his career – he will need to prove that he can lead Labour in the face of uncertainty, party in-fighting and division, and that his MPs can provide a worthwhile opposition to a government which – despite an extremely healthy poll lead – are still seen as unpopular amongs thousands of voters. Is it time for those opposing the Conservatives to vote tactically and to form an alliance? Or will the results divide the country even further? One thing’s for sure – while many will be predicting that the results will solidify Theresa May as Prime Minister of the UK, the same eyes will be looking at what Jeremy Corbyn does to try and piece together the fragments of his party ahead of a momentous election campaign and ballot counting.