Candidates of Faith are among the Winners and Losers
By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (ANS – June 9, 2017) – Days before critical negotiations on Brexit — the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union — the UK has woken up to a hung parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party, after the general election produced no overall winner.
In a parliamentary system of government, a hung parliament is an expression used to describe a state of a parliament when no single political party (or bloc of allied parties) has an absolute majority of seats in the parliament (legislature).
The BBC reports that with nearly all results in, Theresa May faces ending up with 12 fewer seats than when she called the election.
The Tories are set to get 319, Labour 261, the Scottish Nationalist Party 35 and the Liberal Democrats 12. An overall majority requires 326 seats out of a total of 650 sitting parliamentarians.
The BBC understands the PM will try to form a government, but Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn also says he is “ready to serve.”
The prime minister said the country needed “stability” after the inconclusive election result and the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said Mrs May intended to try and govern on the basis that her party had won the largest number of votes and seats.
The BBC reports there has been speculation Mrs. May may seek some kind of informal arrangement with the Democratic Unionists, the largest unionist political party in Northern Ireland, which won 10 seats in Northern Ireland, and which could see itself supporting the Tories (Conservative Party) on a vote-by-vote basis.
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster has said she expects “some contact” with the Tories over the coming days but she also told the BBC she believes Mrs May will find it “difficult to survive.”
The BBC said that after a better-than-expected night for Mr Corbyn, Labour is set to pick up 29 seats. The Tories are on course to lose 13 seats. The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) are down by 22, losing seats to the Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats, in a major setback for Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP.
Turnout so far topped 68.7 percent — up 2 percent up on 2015 — but it has been a return to two-party politics in many parts of the country, with Labour and the Conservatives both piling up votes in numbers not seen since the 1990s and both set to top 40 percent of the vote.
The top five Cabinet positions remain unchanged, according to a statement from 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s official London residence.
* Chancellor of the Exchequer: Philip Hammond
*Secretary of State for the Home Department: Amber Rudd
*Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs: Boris Johnson
*Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union: David Davis
*Secretary of State for Defense: Michael Fallon
Nine Christian MPs who won and lost last night
Sam Hailes, Deputy Editor of Premier Christianity, (www.premierchristianity.com) analyzed the results of last night’s snap election among those candidates who have expressed their Christian faith.
Hailes writes: “In the midst of ‘swing-ometers’ and statistics, it’s easy to forget that a number of hardworking MPs across the country and across the parties have just lost their jobs. The reality of living in a democracy is that politicians work for us, the people. And we the people have hired and fired hundreds of people over the past 24 hours.”
Among this list of winners and losers are a number of Christian MPs.
Alistair Burt (Conservative) – North East Bedfordshire, has held his seat, with a large majority of close to 20,000 votes. Burt has been an MP since 2001 and held various positions in Conservative governments since. From May 2010 to October 2013 he was the Foreign Office Minister responsible for North Africa and the Middle East. In an exclusive interview with Premier, the active Christian said the job was “the best junior government job in parliament.”
John Glen (Conservative) – Salisbury, took 58.1 percent of the vote — a 2.5 percent increase from 2015. The MP — who lists among his interests Defense, Foreign Policy and beginning and end of life issues — sits on a number of All Party Parliamentary Groups including ‘Historic Churches’ and ‘Suicide and self-harm prevention.’ Glen has also been praised for his interaction with his constituents. According to a survey by www.WriteToThem.com, Glen was ranked as the second most responsive MP. Overall, MPs responded to only 56 percent of mail sent to them through the site, while John Glen responded to 95 per cent.
Alister Carmichael (Liberal Democrats) – Shetland and Orkney, has been returned as an MP in a landslide victory – receiving nearly half of all votes cast. Carmichael is an elder in the Church of Scotland and has voted in favor of same sex marriage and assisted suicide. He has a particular interest in Transport and Trade.
Chris Bryant (Labour) – Rhondda, tweeted this morning: “Delighted I’ve nearly doubled my majority but fair play @jeremycorbyn has massively outperformed expectations.” But the MP, who is a former Anglican Priest and once published a book on Christian Socialism, said earlier this year that he’s “given up” on the Church after its refusal to recognize same sex marriage. Nevertheless, he is still listed as a ‘Christians on the Left’ candidate on their website.
Marsha Chantol De Cordova (Labour) – Battersea, who is part of Christians on the Left, has defeated the Conservative Minister Jane Ellison to win her seat in Battersea, South London. She received 25,292 votes, compared to Ellison’s 22,876. Chantol De Cordova’s Twitter profile says: “Love God Hate injustice & inequality.” Upon winning the seat, she tweeted, “I am immensely honored that the people of Battersea elected me as their MP. I will work for a better future for all my constituents.”
David Burrowes (Conservative) – Enfield Southgate, a longstanding MP and well-known Christian face in politics, lost his seat which comes as a big shock to many. The co-founder of the Conservative Christian Fellowship has long been a proud backbencher and voted against assisted suicide and gay marriage. Describing himself as an “evangelical Christian,” Burrowes said in an interview with Conservative Home he has a strong commitment to social justice and “could perhaps have ended up as a youth worker if I didn’t become a criminal defense lawyer and then a politician.”
Caroline Ansell (Conservative) – was always going to be in a tight race between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats for the seat in Eastbourne. In the end there were only 1,600 votes in it as Ansell lost out to the town’s former MP and Liberal Democrat candidate Stephen Lloyd. Ansell is a member of King’s Church and tended to vote in line with her party. She received widespread criticism locally for backing the Government’s U-turn on child refugees from Syria.
Nicola Blackwood (Conservative) – with a majority of 10,000 in her constituency of Oxford West and Abingdon, no one expected the Health minster to lose her seat to Liberal Democrat Layla Moran. The 37-year-old became an MP in 2010 and attends St Aldates, Oxford — a large charismatic evangelical church. In an interview with the diocese of Oxford, Blackwood said, “There are Christians in every party and no party has a claim to righteousness. There are more Christians in Parliament proportionally than in the population at large. We have prayers every morning and it is the one moment in the day when you are not on camera and what you say is not going to be taken down and used against you. We have chaplains and there are resources for people of all faiths.”
Rob Flello (Labour) – Stoke South, a Catholic MP, lost his seat to 26-year-old Jack Brereton, meaning the Conservatives have gained a seat in Stoke-on-Trent for the first time in more than 80 years. Flello had been an MP since 2005 and consistently fought against plans to legalise assisted suicide and relax the law around abortion. Outspoken on many issues, Flello also campaigned in favor of religious freedom.
The Conservatives have said in the event of a hung Parliament, Mrs May would get the opportunity to form a government first, as her predecessor David Cameron did in 2010 when there was also no clear winner but the party had comfortably more seats than their nearest rival.
Lord O’Donnell, formerly the UK’s top civil servant, told the BBC that the prime minister had a duty to stay in post “for now” and had the right to seek the confidence of the House of Commons by asking it to approve a Queen’s Speech, scheduled for June 19. He added that he would be advising her to seek an audience with The Queen later on Friday to explain her intentions of seeking to form a unity-government over the coming days.
Questions are being asked about the potential impact on the upcoming Brexit negotiations which are due to start on June 19.
The EU’s (European Union) chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has hinted that this could now be delayed, tweeting that the talks should begin only when the UK is “ready.”
The BBC explained that although one party needs to get 326 seats to get an overall majority, in practice the Conservatives would be expected to be able to get a Queen’s Speech through with 318 MPs, if they had the backing of the DUP MPs.
The Queen’s Speech is the centerpiece of the State Opening of Parliament. It is one of the highlights of the Parliamentary year, full of both pageantry and political significance. In a nutshell, it is a list of the laws that the government hopes to get approved by Parliament over the coming year. By convention, it is announced by the Sovereign in the presence of MPs, peers and other dignitaries in the House of Lords.
The occasion marks the start of the Parliamentary year and has added resonance after a change of government, with the contents of the Speech highlighting the priorities of new ministers and setting the scene for Parliamentary battle ahead.
The Conservatives were forecast to win 42 percent of the vote, Labour 40 percent, the Lib Dems 7 percent, UKIP 2 percent and the Greens 2 percent.
Speaking at her count in Maidenhead, Theresa May said the full picture had yet to emerge, but added: “At this time more than anything else, this country needs a period of stability.
“And if… the Conservative Party has won the most seats and probably the most votes, then it will be incumbent on us to ensure we have that period of stability — and that is exactly what we will do.”
In analysis for the BBC by BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, the broadcaster says the conversations have started, not just about whether the Tories will be able to form a government, but whether or not Theresa May can stay in her job.
“There is no one prevailing mood inside the Tory party… Mrs May is holed up with her advisers inside Tory HQ,” Kuenssberg writes. “But a former minister, Anna Soubry, has called for her to ‘consider her position’ — political code for calling for her to resign.”
Another senior MP told the editor, “I can’t see how she can stay.”
Yet another minister texted to say the Tory party is “absolute monarchy, ruled by regicide and that’s the territory we are in.” One Tory source says it is “50:50” that she will quit in the morning.
But others are urging caution, calling for reflection, a period of calm.
Photo captions: 1) British Prime Minister Teresa May and Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn. 2) Sam Hailes. 3) A typical British Ballot Box. 4) Michael Ireland.
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ANS since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Please consider helping Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, by logging-on to: https://actintl.givingfuel.com/ireland-michael
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