Hung parliament result puts May’s future in doubt

No single political party won enough votes from the electorate to govern the country outright in yesterday’s general election 2017.

Known as a hung parliament, the result deals a bloody nose to Theresa May, the sitting prime minister who called the snap election yet who has lost the Tories’ majority in doing so.

But her party remaining the largest in Westminster, having won the most seats (43% compared with Labour’s 40%), and the most votes, is helping her stave off calls to resign.  

'No intention of resigning'

Led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after he won his seat in Islington, the calls have been rebuffed by a No 10 aide, who reportedly said Mrs May has ‘no intention of resigning’.

The inference that she will stay on as leader of the country, and the Tories, despite not getting the mandate she wanted to negotiate Brexit, indicates that the PM is exploring a few options.

She will either seek to ‘do a deal’ with a minor party, such as the Democratic Unionist Party, to secure the 326 MPs required for a majority, or will try to lead a minority Conservative government.

A combination of both is also possible. Under such an arrangement, Mrs May would form a minority government and fill all the ministerial positions with her Tory ministers, but she would have to rely on support from the DUP to help the Tories pass legislation.

'Limited companies waiting to see'

“The majority of British business will be waiting to see whether a stable government can be formed in short order,” said the IoD, whose members include limited company owners.

“If the Conservatives govern as a minority, they must recognise that they have not earned a mandate to implement their manifesto in full…[and] focus on preparing for Brexit talks.”

For now however, businesses of all size have been thrown into “political limbo” and face “uncertainty” due to the hung parliament result, said the IoD’s Stephen Martin.

'Key issues'

So "key issues" like access to EU markets, the UK’s need for skilled workers and a tax system “reflective of today’s economy” have -- in effect -- been put on the shelf, Martin believes.

But the issue of tax is why one limited company IT contractor was among the droves of voters who yesterday helped deal the prime minister -- and her party -- a bloody nose.

“Under the Tory government, not only was the total income I could earn capped as a [NHS] freelancer, but they also felt it fair, in conjunction with HMRC, to increase my tax by 30%.”

'Banning PSCs, banning umbrellas'

Referring to the effect of April’s off-payroll rules (which reformed IR35 in the public sector), the contractor added: “Yet they still expect me to drive hundreds of miles…while receiving no extra money for all the associated expenses.”

An accountant who previously worked as an IT consultant agreed. “Banning PSCs in the public sector isn't the solution…[but] banning umbrellas certainly isn't the solution either.”

He added: “Labour's admirable policies to protect the country's most vulnerable workers would, if enacted, inadvertently cause structural issues in the independent professional market.”

The new political landscape

The comments from the anti-Labour adviser and the anti-Tory contractor point to how the UK voted -- overwhelmingly towards a return to the binary system; that of ‘two-party’ politics.

In fact, in contrast to an upbeat Labour party, which gained 29 seats (the Tories lost 12 seats including eight with ministers), UKIP and the SNP suffered heavy losses.

It meant defeat for Alex Salmond, the former Scottish first minister and one-time Personal Services Company owner, and for Paul Nuttall, UKIP leader, both of whom lost their seats. Mr Nuttall has since resigned as the party's leader.

Other high-profile losers and winners include ex-Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who failed to hang onto his seat in Sheffield Hallam, and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, who retained her seat in Brighton.

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