LIST: The 12 Most Important Moments of the General Election 2017
1. 18th April – The Announcement
Just a regular boring Tuesday at number 10, when an announcement from the Prime Minister was scheduled.
What could this mean? Was she ill? Was she standing aside? Why such an oddly specific time? A few predicted she was due to announce a snap election, and sure enough. . .
She felt Westminster wasn’t unified enough behind her vision of Brexit, despite passing through every bit of Brexit legislation introduced to the house up to that point. The Mail and The Sun, both hugely pro-Brexit, were pretty thrilled.
Theresa May was ahead by up to 20 points in the polls when the election was called, and Jeremy Corbyn's Labour were predicted to be massacred by the buoyed Prime Minister.
I personally predicted Labour would lose lots of seats, Lib Dems would pick up lots, Conservatives would win a huge majority and SNP would pretty much control Scotland. Might have been wrong, there.
One woman summarised the public mood perfectly, and went viral. We love you, Brenda from Bristol.
2. 26th April – Enter Boris
After a quiet first week of the election the mud-slinging began when Boris Johnson, ever the reserved politician, accused Jeremy Corbyn of being a “Mutton-Headed Old Mugwump” in an article for The Sun. It divided many people, but any political collateral Johnson might have attained with the article was ruined by a few disastrous interviews.
He stood by the controversial bus that, claimed money from the EU would be spent on the NHS during the referendum
He then suggested that Britain could join USA in attacking Assad forces in Syria without a vote in parliament, something that irked his colleagues.
Johnson was promptly removed from the Conservatives campaign, and has barely been seen since.
3. 2nd May - Abbott’s Maths
Poor old Diane Abbott. The now former Shadow Home Secretary botched an interview with LBC about how much increased policing would cost.
She would later conduct another interview where she got the numbers totally wrong, just days before the public were due to go the the polls.
The Media Reform Coalition condemned Journalists for interviewing poorly and trying to trip up politicians on numbers.
However, Abbott would step away from the campaign due to ill health, with her revealing after the election that she suffers from diabetes. We wish her well.
Whether the leak was deliberate or not remains to be seen, but the public became curious about what the Conservative response would be, and whether Labour would keep the contents of their leaked version.
5. 16th-18th May – The Manifestos
Gradually, each party released their manifestos. UKIP apparently were short of their word count and decided to name a bunch of colours as they embraced nonsense policies, just like the old days.
The Lib Dems continued their support for progressive drug policies.
And the SNP promised Indyref2, something that would come back to haunt them.
Meanwhile, Labour kept most of their leaked pledges, and had even costed the thing, something noticeably absent from the Conservatives’ document.
The Conservatives’ manifesto was uninspired, and proved to be very unpopular, with former Chancellor George Osborne particularly critical, culminating in him saying this after the exit polls were in:
Included in the Conservative document was a pledge to reform Social Care, something that would comeback to haunt them. . .
6. 22nd May - #DementiaTax and the U-Turn
Possibly the most defining moment for the Conservative campaign, the so-called Dementia Tax was a disaster, and caused outrage.
Theresa May took an extraordinary step and performed a U-turn on the policy. It was completely unprecedented for a party to drop a manifesto policy before the election had even taken place, and the media stuck the boot in.
It proved to be a pivotal moment in the election, and her campaign struggled to recover.
7. 22nd May – Terror in Manchester
The campaigns were put on hold as an atrocious and cowardly attack on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester took the lives of 22 innocent people.
There were some truly amazing moments of courage and support as people tried to take in what had happened.
The discussion amongst journalists was that this horrible incident would benefit May, as this leaked video showed.
However, questions began to arise about the police cuts Theresa May had implemented as Home Secretary, and whether this incident could have been prevented. This video from 2015 was shared widely.
8. The Debate – 31st May
Despite increasing pressure on Theresa May to debate Jeremy Corbyn, she stuck to her guns and sent Amber Rudd to debate on behalf of the Conservatives. This caused another shellacking from the press and the public.
Rudd held her own, though, and despite a tense evening on election night she may still become Conservative leader in the future.
Enjoying a surge in the polls, Jeremy Corbyn decided at the last minute to join in.
Despite all the drama in the build up, no clear winner came from the debates from the two major parties, with the fringe parties doing marginally better.
9. 31st May - THAT Poll
Pollsters were under increased pressure this go around, after spectacularly failing to predict a Conservative majority in 2015, failing to predict a victory for Leave in the EU referendum and failing to predict Donald Trump would win the White House in 2016. Most polls had the Conservatives winning by up to 12 points as the day drew nearer.
However, on the 31st May, using a new technique where they measured seat-by-seat, YouGov predicted the possibility of a hung parliament.
People were quick to cast doubt on the poll
However, it turned out to be by far the most accurate model, and Labour held on to hope after it was released. 5 days later, they predicted every seat, and ended up not being far off.
10. 3rd June - Another Night of Terror for Britain
Just 5 days before Britain went to the polls, they were under attack again. This time in London.
Again, Britain showed amazing character and bravery in the face of adversity
It was the 3rd major terrorism incident in Britain this year, and the campaigns were once again suspended. However, Theresa May drew criticism for reiterating anti-terrorism legislation from her manifesto the morning after.
American president Donald Trump, already hugely unpopular in most of Britain, went on an ill-informed tirade against London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
British people were unimpressed
As anger at the President increased, a petition to stop the planned state visit circulated, and the public began to remember what happened when May and Trump met in Washington.
11. 8th June – Election Day and the exit poll
And finally the day was here. It was widely accepted that May had run one of the worst campaigns in history, and that Corbyn had inspired people, especially the young. But would they turn out? Or would May and her hard Brexit win the day? Voters had fun, though, as "dogs at polling stations" began trending.
At 10 o’clock, the country held its breath as they awaited the exit poll. Some journalists couldn’t wait, and jumped the gun.
When the poll finally came in, Twitter exploded.
And people poked fun at Theresa May, after her now infamous “field of wheat” interview.
The exit polls proved to be pretty much accurate, and Britain was once again facing a period of political turmoil.