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Coffee House General Election 2017

What the papers say: Are we heading for a coalition of chaos?

Theresa May’s warnings about a ‘coalition of chaos’ used to sound like empty threats. Not any longer. Since the publication of this week’s YouGov poll which suggested we could be heading for a hung Parliament, the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn making it to No.10 suddenly seems less unbelievable than before. But if May does lose her majority, Corbyn would not be able to govern alone.

Make no mistake, says the Sun: ‘Labour could not govern without a coalition with the SNP’. So whatever Jeremy Corbyn might say about his plan for governing – and Brexit-  there’s little doubt that it would be the Scots who ‘would call the shots’. The team we can trust on negotiating Brexit – Theresa May and David Davis – would be gone, says the Sun – and in their place would come a ‘third-rate crew cobbled together’, the paper warns. They’d also be joined by ‘a delegate from the SNP stroppily arguing for Scotland to be exempted from almost all of it,’ according to the Sun, which says that in his desperate battle to keep power, the Labour leader would ‘buckle’ to every demand from the Scottish Nationalists. ‘Only a Tory vote can secure Britain’s future and prevent Labour extremists betraying us over Brexit,’ the paper concludes.

Theresa May was right to dodge Wednesday night’s BBC ‘shouting match’, says the Daily Telegraph. But in the Prime Minister’s absence, Home Secretary Amber Rudd showed ‘that the Government is not a one-woman band’ and ‘has greater strength in depth than has been on display in this campaign’. Why have we seen so little of the likes of David Davis, Philip Hammond, ‘or, indeed, any other Cabinet minister apart from Mrs May’? The Prime Minister has been right to compare herself so squarely with Jeremy Corbyn, given that the Labour leader is ‘the Opposition’s weakest link’. But doing so ‘requires Mrs May remorselessly to make the same point’. ‘The PM has talked much about her “team”,’ says the Telegraph. It’s time for the PM to show them off.

Wednesday night’s BBC debate showed the corporation at its ‘very worst’, says the Daily Mail. And the paper holds out little hope of an improvement tonight – given that the Question Time special, which will feature Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, is in York: ‘a strongly Remainer city’. The BBC must show that it has ’urgently learn(t) the lessons of this fiasco’. And without assurances that the audience will be more representative of public opinion, ‘Mrs May would be well within her rights to pull out, and her party justified in never again turning up to a BBC election debate,’ according to the Mail.

After the vote on June 8, the next election will be in May 2022. ‘But not if Theresa May has her way,’ says the Guardian, which calls into question the Tory plan to ditch the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. Why, asks the Guardian, which says ‘the manifesto is silent about what Mrs May intends to put in its place’. After all, says the paper, given that May’s decision to call a snap election wasn’t stopped by the Act this time around, why scrap it? Perhaps, then, there’s a more worrying objective, suggests the paper. After all, taken ‘together with proposals ending proportional representation for some local elections, it looks as if she wants to reverse efforts to modernise democracy’. ‘Mrs May should reconsider’, the Guardian concludes.

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