Whether it was your tears of joy or sorrow that greeted the news that Mr Cameron had extended his residency at No 10 to 5 more years, the results of the 2015 General Election was a surprise to many, altering the political landscape of the United Kingdom. Polls published ahead of the election proved to be a poor predictor in reflecting the electorate’s voting behaviour. The Conservatives defied forecasts of a hung parliament and a too-close-to-call-it race against the opposition to claim a slim majority in the House of Commons with 331 seats.
Labour did much worse than expected with a total of 232 seats; 26 fewer than the 258 they won in the 2010 Election. The party was replaced in its near entirety by the Scottish National Party in Scotland, who won a huge victory there of 56 out of 59 seats. Labour failed to make sufficient gains from the Conservatives in England and Wales (losing seats they had won under Gordon Brown), and suffered a high profile casualty with the loss of their Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, to the Conservative’s Andrea Jenkyns. Taking ‘absolute and total responsibility’ for the results, Ed Miliband stepped down as leader.
The Liberal Democrats were by far the party which suffered the most damage. Not only did their leader, Nick Clegg, resign, their representation in parliament was culled substantially from 57 MPs in 2010 to just 8. Senior figures of the party and the coalition government; Business Secretary, Vince Cable, Treasury Secretary, Danny Alexander, former party leader, Charles Kennedy, amongst others, all failed to hold onto their seats.
The smaller parties had some success; the UK Independence Party, succeeded in winning its first seat at a general election with former Conservative MP Douglas Carswell being elected in Clacton. Whilst the Green Party did not make any gains, they did manage to hold on to their one seat in the House of Commons.
With education experiencing a lot of upheaval under the coalition government, it will be interesting to see, now that the Conservatives have enough of a majority to rule on their own, how their plans will impact.
Some of the party’s key promises include:
– Opening at least 500 more free schools by the year 2020.
– Turning all schools with low OFSTED ratings into academies.
– Expanding all good schools.
– Securing a good primary school place for every child.
– Making students who achieve poor Maths and English results in their SATs at the end of Primary school resit during their first year of Secondary school.
– Protect school funding per pupil.
– The creation of 3 million new apprenticeships.
– Training an extra 17,500 Maths and Physics teachers in the next 5 years.
Will they succeed? Only time will tell…