University of Liverpool political experts provide their response to the General Election 2015 results:
Dr Stuart Wilks-Heeg, Head of Politics:
“The Conservatives have exceeded their own hopes and expectations in winning a small majority in parliament and the party will be celebrating a remarkable, unexpected victory this weekend.
“However, the honeymoon will be brief. David Cameron’s promise to negotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU and then hold an in/out referendum on EU membership is fraught with danger. Conservatives remain deeply divided on Europe, an issue which will now dominate British political debate through to 2017. The Brexit referendum will test Tory unity to its limits”.
You can listen to Dr Wilks-Heeg’s analysis of the results on Radio Merseyside here (from 1hr 9mins): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02pkv5n
Jon Tonge, Professor of Politics:
“There are 3 reasons why the Conservatives won this election:
- The Conservatives always led Labour on perceived economic competence;
- Ed Miliband was never seen as Prime Ministerial material by most of the electorate. His rating improved merely from abysmal to bad;
- A post-independence referendum nationalist tide engulfed Labour in Scotland, made even worse by Miliband’s poor rating there (even lower than Cameron’s).”
Dr Alex Balch, Senior Lecturer in Politics:
“The 2015 General Election results look rather mixed for UKIP: they have only won one seat, but the increase in their share of the vote has been notable, especially in the North of England.
“This proves the party has the potential to remain part of the British political landscape for the foreseeable future. Nigel Farage’s failure to win a seat could be the beginning of a difficult period for the party, although the prospect of an EU referendum might soften the blow considerably.
The problem is that Farage has become so central to their campaigning and identity – it is difficult to see who will replace him and whether they can maintain cohesion. “