When the snap election was called, Jeremy Corbyn looked like a weak opposition leader, facing attacks from his own MPs, while Theresa May looked like a Tory leader who would go down in the history books as one of the greatest election winning prime ministers of modern times. But the campaign changed everything. Theresa May’s legacy will be anything but great. She will be remembered for her snap election blunder and her struggling Brexit negotiations. Even if she stays on as leader, it is difficult to imagine her returning her party to its former dominant spot.
Since the election, the government has been on the defensive, and the opposition has made some serious advances. Here are six Labour wins since June’s election.
1. Social housing
The site reported that John Healey, the Labour Party’s shadow housing minister said:
"Once again, Labour is winning the arguments and making the running on government policy."
2. Universal credit phone line
Last week, the UK government announced that it was scrapping the 55p per minute phone line to help those on universal credit, according to the Standard. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had previously criticised the government for the charge during PMQs, a line of attack that clearly paid off for his party and those suffering from the additional payments.
Furthermore, I-news has reported that May could be about to make another U-turn on universal credits.
3. That time the DUP joined up with Labour
During an opposition day debate last month, the Tories’ confidence and supply partners, the DUP, voted with Labour to oppose the government’s plan to raise tuition fees further, as reported by the Independent. The vote had no legal repercussions, but it was a symbolic defeat for the Conservatives.
Another political point to Labour!
4. Tuition fees
The opposition day vote obviously had a strong effect as the government recently announced plans to increase the tuition fees repayment threshold and not increase fees, as reported by the Mirror. The move was another clear sign that Labour is making advances.
5. More borrowing
After years of the Conservatives continually lambasting Labour for excessive borrowing, the government’s Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced on the Andrew Marr Show last Sunday that the party was willing to borrow in order to build more houses.
He said the government could: “borrow more to invest in the infrastructure that leads to more housing, take advantage of some of the record-low interest rates that we have. I think we should absolutely be considering that.”
6. The public-sector pay-cap
One of Labour’s biggest victories since June’s snap election was the Conservative announcement that the ongoing pay-cap imposed on public-sector workers would be lifted for police officers and prison officers, as reported by the Independent. Labour has long been calling for the cap to be lifted, and the government’s move highlights that Labour is on the front-foot. While the lift does not go far enough, in terms of being for only a limited number of public sector workers, it shows that Labour is making progress and the Conservatives are floundering in the political wilderness – even though they remain in government.
Overall, this minority government is weaker than the majority one that came before. The sign of a good opposition is that they shift the government's positions on key issues, something that Corbyn's Labour is clearly doing. The question is, how long will it be until divisions in the Labour party resurface?