What do DMU students make of the 2017 General Election?

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After a night of shock results, twists and turns in the General Election – which leaves Prime Minister Theresa May with no clear majority in the House of Parliament – we thought we’d ask some De Montfort University (DMU) students what they made of it all.

Chris Segal is the secretary of De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU)’s Politics Society and stayed up until 6am to see the final results come in.

“The first thing we noticed was that the Conservatives were not going to get the majority they wanted,” he said. “I think Jeremy Corbyn and Labour ran a magnificent campaign, and May had a shocker.

“Corbyn has certainly done much better than expected. I never thought that he would win so many seats and I was surprised that so many people from within his party would actually praise him.

“Right now, I think the strongest possibility is a Conservative and DUP coalition.

“[Former Liberal Democrat leader] Nick Clegg losing his seat made me say ‘wow’ – I never thought he would lose his seat at this election, and I was really shocked at [former SNP leader] Alex Salmond losing his seat too.”

Theresa May is now looking to form a coalition with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), reports say.

As well as some high-profile casualties on the night, another big talking point was the erosion of UKIP’s vote.

“I knew UKIP [voters] were going to go back to working class Labour supporters or the hard right,” Chris explained.

“I would go so far as saying this election was the biggest mistake in British political history. It’s worse than Cameron’s referendum, because that was needed.”

Ryan Willett, secretary of the Labour Students’ Society, said: “I am disappointed that Labour haven’t managed to gain a majority, but we don’t have that from the Conservatives, either, and so it looks like we are now going to spend the coming weeks forming a coalition government.

“It’ll be very interesting how things play out. The Labour Party seems much more united now, and the campaign machine was very much driven by students – who are now being heard. This also dispels with myth that Jeremy Corbyn is ‘unelectable’.”

Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party now hold 261 seats in the House of Commons.

Younger voters turned out in huge numbers across the country, with figures of more than 70% turnout in some areas. But others remain disillusioned with the parties as they are now.

Lydia Turner is a member of the DMU Politics Society and chose not to vote this time around after deciding that there wasn’t a candidate who represented her views.

“A lot of the Labour policies appealed to me,” she said. “But what changed my perspective was the belief of the Labour Party to give an almost unlimited amount of power to the police.

“That was a big deal to me, so I didn’t want to elect somebody based on just some of their policies, so it was almost a last-minute decision.”

Despite this, Lydia said she wasn’t as shocked as some when the first exit polls emerged at 10pm last night. She continued: “I wasn’t too surprised, as there were a lot of Labour vote increases and I kind of expected that.

“It was definitely felt that we could have expected a higher turnout from the younger population than ever before given what the parties were talking about like tuition fees and student finance, and that clearly appealed to a lot of young people.

“I’m intrigued to see how the next few days unfold with regards to government, and leadership within the parties themselves.”

In Leicester, Labour's Liz Kendall, Jon Ashworth and Keith Vaz were all re-elected with largely increased majorities.



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