The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 21st April 2017

Theresa May’s election desperation

PRIME Minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election on 8th June — the earliest possible date — is a sure sign that the Tory party is in a desperate situation. Even though the opinion polls are giving them a double figure lead, they know that there is enormous support amongst ordinary people for Jeremy Corbyn’s policies.

May is taking a big risk. If she had wanted to play it really safe she would have waited until the planned constituency boundary changes had gone through — giving the Tories a much bigger advantage.

But May has a working majority of only 12 and a party deeply divided over Brexit — with both of the contending factions having the power to sabotage any motions they do not like.

If May were to win a landslide majority the party would still be divided on Brexit but she would be a lot less vulnerable to this sort of sabotage.

But there is another spectre that has been haunting the Tory government since the last general election — credible accusations of large-scale election fraud that have been investigated by police, who now say that they have enough evidence to charge around 30 individuals.

If this happens and they are convicted, up to 20 Tory MPs would lose their seats and there would have to be new by-elections in those constituencies. The Tories would completely lose their majority in Parliament whilst those by-elections were in process and could easily lose some of those seats permanently. There would have to be a general election anyway.

Those 20 MPs will now have to defend their seats whilst under the shadow of criminal investigation — not so easy unless the party urges them to resign in favour of less contentious replacements. And the party agents will have to be absolutely scrupulous in their accounting to avoid the chance of further accusations of election fraud. The Tory ‘battle bus’ will probably be grounded — its role was at the centre of the election fraud allegations that local Tory parties failed to include expenses connected with the ‘battle bus’ visits to their constituencies, claiming they thought that would come under national expenses.

Not declaring all election spending is a criminal offence, and the MPs involved and their agents face one year in jail and an unlimited fine if convicted.

Fourteen police forces have sent files to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) relating to the Tory 2015 ‘battle bus’ scheme. The CPS is currently reviewing the evidence and considering whether to charge the MPs with breaking the election spending limits, which are put in place to prevent those with wealthy backers from gaining an unfair advantage during general elections.

The Electoral Commission is also investigating the allegations in parallel to the police. The allegations centre on whether spending on hotels for visiting activists and certain campaign material was incorrectly registered as national spending rather than local, potentially illegitimately taking advantage of a higher spending ceiling.

In recent weeks some Tory MPs have hit out at party officials, who they say have dodged blame for the fiasco at the expense of MPs’ reputations.

The divisions within the Parliamentary Tory party are just as great as within the Parliamentary Labour Party but the media have been very quiet about them, whilst making the most of the Blairite traitors within the Labour ranks. And it is the activity of those traitors that is responsible for Labour’s low poll ratings.

But during the upcoming election process the Tories will not be able to hide their divisions over Brexit. Look out for some seismic battles between Boris Johnson and May — his attitude to the European Union may change with the tide but his greed for power is his constant pole star.

The Liberal Democrats, who are set on reversing Brexit, will be looking for a revival after their treachery in the 2010—2015 coalition left them truly unelectable. They are looking to be in a position once again to hold the balance of power and overthrow the result of the Brexit referendum.

It is not only Labour supporters who will be chanting: “Let June be the end of May.”