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Challenging Theresa May’s vision of Brexit Britain : Ruth Davidson and the 2017 UK general election

Fiona Simpkins
p. 141-160

Résumé

Far from giving Theresa May the mandate she needed to pursue her ‘vision of Brexit’, the outcome of the June 2017 general election was a reduced Conservative majority and the formation of a minority government after an agreement with the DUP. Most surprisingly, disaster was avoided for the Conservatives thanks to the unexpected addition of thirteen Scottish Conservative seats. This was quite extraordinary as Scottish Conservative MPs had become conspicuous by their absence in Parliament since the 1980s. As Theresa May narrowly avoided losing a majority in the UK, the little nationally known Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. While May had gambled that the Brexit fault line would trump traditional partisan sympathies, Davidson had bet that the constitutional issue in Scotland would phase out both the issue of Brexit and partisan sympathies. Our analysis of the evolution of the Scottish Conservative party under Ruth Davidson’s leadership will therefore seek to shed some light on the reasons behind the unexpected resurgence of the Scottish Conservatives at the June 2017 general election.

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Extrait du texte

Ce document sera publié en ligne en texte intégral en novembre 2018.

Plan

Introduction
Rethinking unionist conservatism
An ‘authentic’ new brand of conservatism
Brexit and the Scottish constitutional issue
Conclusion

Aperçu du texte

Introduction

The 2017 general election was an unusual one in several ways. First because it was a snap election that was constitutionally unnecessary, but also because its results were entirely unexpected. Far from giving Theresa May the mandate she needed to pursue her ‘vision of Brexit’, as she phrased it on calling the election, its outcome was a reduced Conservative majority and the formation of a minority government after an agreement with the DUP. Most curiously, disaster was avoided for the Conservatives thanks to the unexpected addition of thirteen Scottish Conservative seats. This was quite a feat in a country where the lack of Conservative MPs had become a long-standing joke. The party experienced such a sharp decline of its electoral scores after the 1980s, it was unable to send more than a single MP to Parliament until the June 2017 general election. This was all the more extraordinary because all of the Scottish seats won in 2017 were seized from a heretofore hegemonic...

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Référence papier

Fiona Simpkins, « Challenging Theresa May’s vision of Brexit Britain : Ruth Davidson and the 2017 UK general election », Observatoire de la société britannique, 21 | -1, 141-160.

Référence électronique

Fiona Simpkins, « Challenging Theresa May’s vision of Brexit Britain : Ruth Davidson and the 2017 UK general election », Observatoire de la société britannique [En ligne], 21 | 2018, mis en ligne le 01 novembre 2018, consulté le 18 septembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/osb/2198 ; DOI : 10.4000/osb.2198

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Auteur

Fiona Simpkins

Maître de Conférences en Civilisation britannique à l'Université de Lyon II

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Observatoire de la société britannique

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