UK’s Conservative party, favored by British Jews, suffers election setback


( The U.K.’s Conservative party, which has strongly supported Israel and is backed by the overwhelming majority of British Jews, suffered a setback in parliamentary elections Thursday, as Prime Minister Theresa Mary failed to strengthen her governing position.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May. Credit: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr/Department of Defense.

With nearly all the results in, the Conservative party won 318 seats in the U.K. Parliament, eight short of the necessary 326 to form a governing coalition and 12 fewer than the party garnered in the 2015 British election. At the same time, the left-wing Labour party gained 29 seats for a total of 261. Labour has been dogged by anti-Semitism within its ranks in recent years, while party leader Jeremy Corbyn has a history of anti-Israel rhetoric, including his description of the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups as “friends.”

While Corbyn said May “should go and make way for a government that is truly representative of this country,” the prime minister dismissed calls to step down and plans to form a governing coalition with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which won 10 seats and would put May’s coalition at 328 seats, just two above what is needed to form a government. 

Pre-election polling by London’s Jewish Chronicle said 77 percent of British Jews supported the Conservative party, compared to only 13 percent for Labour.

“If the governing party, which is a strong supporter of Israel, loses so much ground, then of course it has to be something of a loss for Israel and the Jewish community,” Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews umbrella group, told The Times of Israel. 

Posted on June 9, 2017 .