Saturday, 19 August, 2017

UK prime minister defends decision to seek snap election

Juana Turner | 20 April, 2017, 00:40

She changed her mind last week - on a walking holiday with her husband - after "reluctantly" coming to the conclusion that "game-playing" over Brexit among politicians back home would make negotiating with European Union leaders much harder.

"There will be no second referendum", May told the BBC.

The British pound's surge since Prime Minister Theresa May's surprise election call represents an early sign of optimism that the country's exit from the European Union may be smoother than many had feared.

Brexit will dominate the campaign, with May - who took office after David Cameron resigned following the European Union vote - seeking public backing for her plan to pull Britain out of Europe's single market.

Brenda's comments were even played back to May - who had promised not to call a snap election when she became prime minister last July - in an interview on BBC radio on Wednesday. More recent polls suggest that a large majority of 69 percent want to proceed with Brexit while only 21 percent want to overturn the result. Under Britain's first-past-the-post electoral system, the Conservatives would likely have a hefty majority of more than 100 seats in the House of Commons - up from 14 now.

Embattled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced his support of May's call for snap elections. Corbyn, a traditional labourist, will campaign on reversing government austerity, nationalizing railways, and investing in wages, all while steering clear of Brexit so as to not alienate the party's pro-leavers.

Labour's embattled Corbyn meanwhile faces speculation that a dismal performance in the election could spell the end of his time at the helm of the fractured 117-year-old party.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis, who has had to curtail his honeymoon because of the election, was one of the MPs who voted against it. This means that the value of products being sold to the United Kingdom will have increased, with all signs suggesting that a further strengthening of the pound is likely if the Conservative Party does, as expected, win the election.

Explaining his vote against, he said: "The key thing here is the fixed term parliament act was put in place by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to give them some sort of protection against destabilisation and a general election being called before they wanted one".

Absent an economic meltdown between now and 2019, what an early election will also do is dash once and for all the already fast-fading hopes of Remainers that Brexit might somehow be prevented.

That Lynton Crosby - the election strategist who masterminded the 2015 campaign and in particular the mobilization of English voters against fears of an impending Labour-Scottish National Party coalition - is running the campaign should also be ringing alarm bells in Labour HQ.

(/PA via AP). Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon leaves Bute House in Edinburgh Tuesday April 18, 2017.

But perhaps the most significant number is 154: If the number of Labour seats falls below that, it will be the party's lowest number since 1931.

They also say that a big victory for May will dilute the influence of those lawmakers pushing for a "hard Brexit" as well as strengthening May's overall negotiating stance. However, the Euroskeptic party still has a support base, and leader Paul Nuttall will seek to paint May as a political opportunist. Its leader, Tim Farron, is going to run against May's vision of "the hardest form of Brexit".

Other parties now holding Commons' seats include the Greens (one), Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (eight) and Sinn Fein (four), as well as Wales' Plaid Cymru (three). "Negotiations were to start in June regardless of the election".

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