The failure of either Labour or the Conservatives to open up a clear lead, the likely severe losses of the Liberal Democrats, the unprecedentedly high levels of support for the SNP in Scotland, and the prominence of UKIP made the 2015 UK General Election the most unpredictable in living memory. Professor Charlie Jeffery, at an FCC lunch on May 21, explained this unpredictability and discussed what it means for the policies and the stability of the UK government in the coming years.
Jeffery, senior vice-principal of the University of Edinburgh, held a number of public advisory and consultancy roles. He had been an advisor to the House of Commons select committee on the office of the deputy prime minister and the committee on standards in public life. He was formerly a member of the Council of the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (2005-11), chairing its research committee which looked at the future of Scotland. He played a leading role in the public debate about Scotland’s independence referendum.