“Nothing has changed” was the infamous quote made by Theresa May during this year’s UK election campaign over a policy u-turn. This marked the beginning of a reverse of the Conservative support in the polls which eventually led to the changes that changed the political geography of the United Kingdom significantly when compared to the just as surprising result of the 2015 election. The following map uses the same approach as the previous map series showing the winning party in each constituency, but adds further detail to the picture by also highlighting how seats have changed between the last and this election:
A lot has surely changed, for Theresa May as well as for British politics in general. Despite having secured a vote share of 42.4% (compared to 36.8% that the Conservative party received at the 2015 election), the peculiarities of the first-past-the-post voting system meant that the overall majority of parliamentary seats could not be secured (13 seats down compared to 2015). This electoral campaign led to a return to a two-party politics in Britain where tactical voting around the most likely winners led to a battle mostly fought between the Conservative and the Labour party. Labour under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn could equally improve their vote share (with 40.0% very close to the Conservatives, up from 30.5% in 2015), but could also increase their number of seats by 30 (to 262 parliamentary seats).
Among the significant changes is the loss of Conservative seats all across England, while the party was able to make considerable gains in Scotland. Here the Scottish National Party (which only stands for election in Scotland) went down by 21 seats to 35, or a change in their vote share which went from 4.7% to 3%.
The Liberal Democrats’ vote share also went down to 7.4% (from 7.9%), though they increased their parliamentary seats by 4 to a total of 12. The potential ‘kingmaker’ (or rather queenmaker), the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland secured 10 seats (up 2) with a vote share of 0.9%, while Sinn Fein (also from Northern Ireland) also gained two seats and now holds 7 seats (which they abstain from taking). The Welsh Plaid Cymru also gained a seat and now holds 4 (with a vote share of 0.5%), while the Green Party kept their single seat in Brighton Pavilion with a vote share of 1.6%. Sylvia Hermon from Northern Ireland is the only Independent member of Parliament.
The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) which managed to secure one seat and 12.6% of the votes in 2015 lost their only seat and went down to a vote share of 1.8%.
As these changes show, two years can be a long time in politics. A lot has changed…
A final series of maps providing some more insights into the election outcome will follow soon, so come back!