Bis Hold On in UK Election

The UK General Election yesterday produced a polling upset – yet another in a recent run of them in the UK – as the governing Conservative party narrowly lost its majority in the House of Commons.

Both the out-bi MPs who were defending their seats were re-elected, with Cat Smith (Labour, Lancaster) increasing her majority while Daniel Kawczynski (Conservative, Shrewsbury) saw his vote tally increase but the margin of victory over his nearest rival narrow.

One openly bisexual former MP, Simon Hughes, failed in his bid to return as Liberal Democrat member for Bermondsey.

It was a fairly good night for prominent bi allies, Jo Swinson who became the first UK equality minister to recognise Bi Visibility Day in 2013 had lost her seat in 2015 but was re-elected. Her successors in the role, Nicky Morgan and Justine Greening, have both continued in sending public messages of support for the date and retained their parliamentary seats, albeit with much narrower margins of victory than before.

In the election, the Conservatives dropped from 331 seats to 318 – below the notional threshold of 326 MPs required to form a government. However with seven MPs elected as Sinn Fein candiddates expected not to take their seats that threshold effectively falls to 322, and an arrangement with the 10 Democratic Unionist MPs is expected to ensure the Conservatives remain in power. Whether this will be a coalition, such as the Conservatives formed with the Liberal Democrats from 2010-2015, or a more informal arrangement such as that between the Labour and Liberal parties in the 1970s is yet to be seen.

Among the opposition parties three were completely wiped out – the Social Democratic & Labour Party, Ulster Unionist Party and UK Independence Party each lost every seat they had won at the 2015 election and will be unrepresented in the new parliament. This is not new: two years ago the Alliance Party similarly lost its parliamentary presence.

Of the other opposition parties, Plaid Cymru, Labour and the Liberal Democrats each saw an increase in their representation, while the Scottish National Party which won almost every seat it contested in 2015 lost 21 of its 56 MPs.