Features > Election 2017: She said it would never happen but the temptation proved irresistible...

20 April 2017 | by Julia Langdon

Election 2017: She said it would never happen but the temptation proved irresistible...


She said it would never happen. She said it would be “destabilising”. But the temptation for Theresa May to increase her parliamentary majority proved irresistibleIt was of course the polls that clinched it. Theresa May didn’t want to hold a general election. She didn’t need to hold a general election. She had told the world firmly, several times, that she had no intention of calling one. She is a cautious woman and it is a characteristic that has served her well, but now we know that all of that counted for nothing beside the cold calculation of the statistics.

The Conservatives have consistently led the Labour Party in the public popularity stakes since the general election two years ago. The lead has been comfortable and growing. Only last month it emerged that even committed Labour voters thought that Mrs May made a better prime minister than Jeremy Corbyn would do, if he ever got the chance. And just think of the implications of that! Consider how that might colour the canvas. People who say they are prepared to trot off to the polling station and vote Labour, nevertheless believe that a Conservative prime minister is a better option than what their own party has on offer. How could that not help but change her mind?

And then last weekend, when the most recent figures gave her party a lead of more than 20 per cent over the Labour Party, how could she resist it and not seize the opportunity that was offered? She put on a dress for church on Easter Sunday, smiled for the photographers and the history books and went home to give the Queen a call.


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