Thursday, 25 May, 2017

Theresa May's call for early election 'cheap opportunism'

MPs clear way for UK general election on June 8 Election 2017: Havering voters agree with prime minister as MPs back plans for June 8 vote
Howard Terry | 21 April, 2017, 00:36

British lawmakers voted on Wednesday to support Prime Minister Theresa May's call to hold a snap election on June 8, before the country enters two years of gruelling Brexit negotiations.

May, under the Fixed-Terms Parliaments Act, needed a two-thirds House of Commons' majority (434 MPs) in order for a snap election to take place.

The prime minister stunned the nation on Tuesday by calling for a snap election to be held in just over six weeks' time despite previously insisting that the general election will go ahead in 2020 as initially scheduled. She made an unexpected announcement on Tuesday that she would seek an early election less than halfway through her government's five year-term.

"It was with reluctance that I decided the country needs this election, but it is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond", May said.

May will also include pledges in her election manifesto to pull out of both the EU single market and European Court of Justice, the newspaper said.

All sides are now gearing up for the fourth major election in four years, after last June's shock referendum vote for Brexit, the 2015 general election, and the 2014 Scottish independence vote.

Opinion polls give them a big lead over the Labour opposition, and May is gambling that an election will deliver her a personal mandate from voters and produce a bigger Conservative majority in Parliament.

Schinas also said two British-based EU institutions, the European Banking Authority and European Medicines Agency (EMA), "must be based in the territory of the European Union" once Brexit is complete. The leaders of the 27 remaining European Union countries will meet on April 29 to agree the bloc's negotiating position, which will then be translated into a legal text by the European Union commission in May.

"Brexit negotiations will start after 8 June elections", said Juncker to May, according to the Commission chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas.

May will be going into the election holding 330 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, with a working majority of 17.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was the first to mention the decision, opening his remarks by saying: "We welcome the general election, but this is a prime minister who promised there wouldn't be one, a PM who can not be trusted".

But if May can withstand the public scorn, she doesn't have much incentive to show up for a debate - her party's already the heavy favorite to carry the election.

The main opposition Labour Party welcomed May's election call, meaning that it is nearly a foregone conclusion that May will obtain the two thirds support she needs in the House of Commons for the election to be held.

May is seeking a general election in order to give her a direct mandate to take the United Kingdom through the Brexit divorce with the European Union.

We can't win, they say, because we don't play their game.

The Labour leader was echoed by Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon, and Green Party co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley.

The Liberal Democrats attacked the Prime Minister's decision to rule out taking part in televised debates ahead of the election.

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