The first female chairman of the Conservatives, 60-year-old May surprised the public by calling a snap election on April 18 — a move aimed at strengthening her Brexit negotiations. Back in April, the Conservative government was polling ahead of Labour, but May’s popularity has since suffered.
The election was based on May believing she could bury Labour and get greater support for the hard Brexit outcome she desires, explained Gabriel Stein, managing director of developed markets research at research firm 4CAST-RGE.
EU leaders are now bracing themselves for tricky dialogue ahead.
May’s wings will be clipped as she will not reflect the will of the British people and that could undermine Brexit settlements, added Stein.
The scenario of a slim Conservative majority wouldn’t have been idea for Brussels, explained Ivor Roberts, president of Trinity College at Oxford. “A small majority means a British government that is not a serious interlocutor.”
If Labour had won the reigns of government, Corbyn’s team was also expected to struggle with the Brexit process. “They would peddle a soft Brexit, but would still be left with many of same questions as to how to conduct the negotiations,” explained Lemahieu.
“This is not a happy day for Brussels either.”