Friday, 26 May, 2017

Five key issues as Britain heads to general election

Howard Terry | 19 April, 2017, 01:45

Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for snap general elections on June 8 received early backing from British markets.

Earlier on Tuesday, May gathered the press at short notice outside 10 Downing Street where she announced her intent to seek Parliament's approval to hold a United Kingdom general election on 8 June, Efe news reported.

In her speech, May said: "we need a general election and we need one now, because we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin".

Explaining her decision to hold the vote, Theresa May said Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership following the European Union referendum.

May has said previously that she would not call an early election, notably, on camera in June and September past year. And she has delivered on the referendum result.

May faces tough negotiations with European Union leaders over Britain's new role in Europe after last year's referendum vote to leave the EU.

After frequent denials of a snap election, Mrs May told Peston she started to change her mind during the early stage of the Brexit process before making her decision to call for a June 8 vote while away.

Speaking outside Downing Street after officially taking up the position of Prime Minister in July of a year ago, Mrs May praised her predecessor, David Cameron, for his legacy on issues including same-sex marriage.

"The Labour Party is then going to have to identify a new leader of the opposition who has real credibility and can rebuild the traditional bases of support, which is going to be a big task".

Polls show May's Conservative Party is more than 20 points ahead of the main opposition - giving her an opening to consolidate her power.

But she has previously said she will stay in office until the next scheduled national election, in 2020.

The Brexit secretary insisted the PM had not called for an early vote because it was "comfortable or easy" but because it was the right thing for the UK. Only the Liberal Democrats, a minority party, opposes Brexit. A Remain voter, she now wants a Hard Brexit.

They say that a government with a stronger mandate could get a better deal for the U.K. However, it could also push through a more aggressive version of Brexit that cuts off business more from the EU's single market. "Ahead of this general election, I hope that the Jewish Community across Hampstead and Kilburn will place their trust in me once again to represent them well in Westminster".

In London, former Cabinet ministers Vince Cable and Ed Davey are putting themselves forward as candidates, while the party's former deputy leader Simon Hughes will stand in his former constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

He said: "But what she needs is a strong mandate for this negotiation".

The British politician was named Prime Minister in July, following the departure of David Cameron, and has since made withdrawing from the European Union a prime focus.

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