Preliminary election analysis indicates the highest level of 18-to-24-year-old turnout since 1992. There was an estimated 72 percent turnout – in contrast, only 44 percent of young people voted in 2010, which subsequently dipped to 43 percent in 2015.
Theresa May, who called this election when she was 23 percentage points ahead in the polls, has lost her House of Commons majority of 17 and may also risk losing her premiership. It is rumoured that senior Conservative Party figures have called for her to resign in the wake of this surprising defeat. Senior Labour Party figures including Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn himself have also called for the PM to resign.
This historic level of youth turnout is thought to be in response to Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn devoting resources to encourage students and other young people to register to vote. The seismic shift in youth turnout comes just weeks after The Electoral Reform Society warned that Britain’s youth were facing a “voter registration time bomb,” and three years after the introduction of individual voter registration fuelled fears that many young people would drop off the electoral register.
The power of the youth vote was best demonstrated in Canterbury Constituency – a seat with a large student population, held by the Conservatives for 99 years – was taken by Labour.
Owen Jones, a Guardian columnist, commented: “here’s to Britain’s young. You were ridiculed. Patronised. Demonised even. And you may have changed history, whatever happens. #Election2017.”
Second-year Politics student George Wheeler said: “it was about far more than [tuition fees], it was about showing the government that they can’t take the young for granted and it was a rejection of a decisive and arrogant form of politics that we’ve seen in the U.K. Since the 80s.”
The final result of the election is as follows: Conservative, 318 seats; Labour, 261 seats; Scottish National Party, 35; Liberal Democrats, 12 seats.