View of Bideford, England from the River Torridge (Shutterstock)
The outcome of local elections in the United Kingdom last week painted a stark picture for the country’s two major political parties.
The ruling Conservatives were expecting to lose around 800 of their 5,521 seats. They ended up losing 1,330 and with it control of 44 councils.
Labour, who were expecting gains, ended up losing 84 seats and control of six councils.
The clear winners were the Liberal Democrats, who more than doubled their seats, from 658 to 1,351, with 19 percent support. The Greens also won.
It is tempting to write up the result to those parties’ pro-EU message, but there is actually more at play.
The British flag flies over the Houses of Parliament in London, England (Unsplash/Matt Milton)
Friday was meant to be Brexit Day, but it wasn’t. Instead, after two “meaningful votes” about leaving the EU, a third was held in Parliament, which — like the previous two — did not succeed.
On Monday, Parliament will continue its indicative voting to see what, if any, resolution to the crisis can command a majority in the House.
Meanwhile, British politics continues its Brexit-themed realignment.
British prime minister Theresa May speaks with the American defense secretary James Mattis at Lancaster House in London, England, May 11, 2017 (DoD/Jette Carr)
With Brexit only four months away, its biggest supporters are still in denial about what it must mean.
They have called a confidence vote in Theresa May, believing that a different prime minister could negotiate a better deal from the EU.
British prime minister Theresa May attends the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Jay Allen)
In local elections on Thursday, both of Britain’s major parties did just well enough to keep criticism about their leaders at bay without doing well enough to silence it altogether.