UK Parliament approves Theresa May's snap vote

Cornelia Mascio
Aprile 20, 2017

 In a shock announcement, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday called for an early general election to be held June 8.

"We are determined to bring stability to the United Kingdom for the long term and that's what this election will be about - leadership and stability", Mrs May told MPs.

He dismissed the PM's argument that she needs a fresh mandate to deliver Brexit, and said it was "extremely interesting" she had called for an election as the Crown Prosecution Service decides whether to press charges against a number of Tory MPs over allegations relating to 2015 election expenses.

The Sun, Britain's top-selling newspaper, splashed the headline "Blue Murder" - a reference to the Conservatives' party color and the prospect of Labour losing dozens of seats. The government's current working majority is only 17 seats.

She added: "Make no mistake, if the SNP wins this election in Scotland - and the Tories don't - then Theresa May's attempt to block our mandate to hold another referendum when the time is right, will crumble to dust".

Labour Party shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said May had made a decision to "cut and run" ahead of Brexit negotiations and predicted an unpleasant campaign under the management of spin-doctor Lynton Crosby, the man behind the dirty campaigning for Zac Goldsmith when he ran against Labour's Sadiq Khan in the London mayoral election.

It's this prospect of a so-called "hard Brexit" that has mainly anxious businesses in Britain, many of which trade intensely with the European Union, the biggest destination for British exports.

The fear of that economic damage has been reflected mainly in the pound's weakness since the initial shock of the Brexit result last June, which saw the currency tank from the $1.50 mark to 32-year lows around $1.20. The currency fall has helped exporters by making their goods more competitive, but that is a one-off gain that could be more than offset by the impact of European Union tariffs on British goods and additional barriers to trade.

May is hoping to gain a bigger majority in Parliament for her Conservatives, strengthening her negotiating hand with the EU.

A Parliament packed with conservatives could also give May political cover if, as some analysts predict, the British economy takes a hit when it leaves the EU.

Although Parliament will not be officially dissolved until early May, campaigning is already under way - with Lib Dem leader Tim Farron addressing a rally of activists in south-west London earlier on Wednesday.

A spokesman said, "Over the last week, Jeremy Corbyn has announced commonsense policies to rebalance our economy in favor of the majority, which polls show are extremely popular with the public".

"Fortuitously for them, they find themselves in a position of being the only party that is making the anti-Brexit case", said Rob Ford, political science professor at the University of Manchester.

Still, elections have a habit of delivering unexpected outcomes.

Technically, there are now only two ways to call early elections.

Of course, this might be what the Prime Minister had in mind in the first place.

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