May calls on parliament to back 'right and responsible' early election
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Apr 19, 2017,
Apr 19, 2017, 19:30
Theresa May's decision to "reluctantly" call an early election marks her first major u-turn as prime minister.
"A general election will provide the country with five years of strong and stable leadership to see us through the negotiations and ensure we are able to go on to make a success as a result, and that is crucial".
Financial markets reacted to the news with approval.
"As a candidate in an election, I never take the electorate for granted". With the financial world now seeing the United Kingdom through the prism of the Brexit - and with investors tending to prefer the idea of a softer Brexit (with a focus on retaining ties with Europe) to a harder exit (which at its most extreme would entail a complete break with the Continent) - the bets being placed seem to indicate that this is good news for British Europhiles. May's calculation is that this remains the case until at least 8 June. The first is that polls point to a large win for May's Conservatives. Although May has been the face of hard Brexit since taking office, it could be said that she has been forced to chart this course by the Parliament she inherited.
Currently, the Conservatives have 330 MPs, giving the party its working majority of 17.
Sturgeon also said in a statement that Scotland must be "protected" from a Conservative Party trying to seize control of government for many years to come.
The German government says that it doesn't expect a British election in June to hold up talks on Britain's exit from the European Union. The markets may be mistaken in this calculation, though.
May has told the House of Commons that holding a vote in June, rather than as scheduled in 2020, will give the country "certainty and stability" as it negotiates its departure from the European Union.
The second factor driving investor optimism is that an election is likely to allow the Brexit referendum voters who futilely supported "remain", the so-called 48 percent, to make their feelings known again.
The last election was only in 2015, when David Cameron won a surprising but thin majority as the Labor Party lost heavily in Scotland and the Liberal Democrats were reduced to just eight seats in Parliament.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Wednesday: "We have an interest ... in predictability and reliability, because we want to get this process done in the prescribed period of time and above all because we don't need upheaval in this negotiating process - either at the beginning or the end". An early ballot will give the next leader more time to implement Brexit before another election.
But the decision does carry political risks for May.
"I am urging that, as part of this election campaign, we create the capacity for the people to know exactly what the choices are and elect as many MPs as possible with an open mind on this issue who are prepared to vote according to the quality of the deal and the interests of the British people".