The United Kingdom will be holdings its second general election today, with the last being held just two years ago in May 2015. A total of 650 seats are in the fray with 3,303 candidates standing from dozens of parties. This number is a huge downgrade from the number of candidates in the last general election in 2015 when the number was 3971. The Labour Party has 631 candidates, while the Liberal Democrats have 629. The UKIP has nearly halved the number of candidates from 2015, with only 378 candidates standing this year. The Conservative party, which saw former prime minister David Cameron lead the party to victory in 2015, has 638 this time around.
Here are the key candidates from various parties:
1. Theresa May, Conservative Party
Prime Minister Theresa May is pinning her hopes on a “strong and stable” post-Brexit plans to entice voters. Her party currently holds a majority in the Parliament with 330 out of 650 Parliamentary seats. An Oxford alumni, sixty-year-old May has spent six years in the Home Office, the longest term in a century. She has had massive influence over policies of immigration, unlike other home secretaries.
May took over as Prime Minister on July 13, 2016 after David Cameron resigned after Britain chose to exit the European Union. She is the second woman to be the Prime Minister of UK and the Leader of the Conservative Party. The party has promised improved labour rights, more funds for mental health care, cap on gas and electricity and social housing for a “new generation.”
2. Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party
Corbyn, currently the Leader of Opposition, is not only working the elections but also fractions within his own party. In September 2015, the socialist leader was catapulted to the leadership position after Ed Miliband resigned owning responsibility for the party’s poor showing in the general election. Corbyn has a reputation of being a rebellious party member, having voted against his own party 500 times. He has been participating in demonstrations, protests, marches, much like a Bernie Sanders of the UK.
The party has promised increased workers’ rights but has not promised reduced immigration numbers, unlike the Conservative party. It has promised a new partnership with the European Union and has said that it will ensure the rights of EU nationals currently residing in the UK. Corbyn has also spoken of intentions to renationalise public services like water, railways, and the Royal Mail.
3. Tim Farron, Liberal Democrats
Leader of the most pro-European Union party, Time Farron is a beacon of hope for those who want ties with the EU to be retained. The party has promised a second referendum on the final Brexit deal. Farron has also promised to undo Theresa May’s Brexit policy.
It also intends to increase taxes for the wealthy and increase spending on public welfare. They have also announced plans to back businesses by giving £100 allowance per week to budding entrepreneurs. The Liberal Democrats are facing an uphill task in rebuilding their image after they entered into a coalition with the Conservative party in 2010, a move that fell foul with its supporters. It was reduced to a mere 8 seats in 2015 after winning 57 in 2010 general election.
Farron is also the youngest candidate among the three.