United Kingdom election will test markets' Brexit optimism

Mrs May used her speech to praise MPs after 522 voted in the Commons for the early election, with just 13 against.

May wasted no time, going from the vote in Parliament to kick off her campaign with a speech in to supporters northwestern England. In the case of the UK, May is hoping to cash in on increased voter support for her Conservative Party and to solidify her position through an election to strengthen the negotiations of Brexit, the UK's departure from the European Union (EU).

"That would be in nobody's interest", May said.

Any deal secured by May under Article 50 of the EU treaties must be approved by MEPs in a vote at the end of the two-year process, giving the European Parliament an effective veto.

"I welcome the Prime Minister's decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first".

Granted, the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, does not look particularly prime ministerial.

In the last equivalent snap poll, in 1974, then Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath called an election on the question of "Who governs Britain?" while he was battling striking coal miners.

"What do we know that the leader of the Labour Party, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and the leader of the Scottish nationalists have in common?" she asked parliament.

May has framed the election, in which her ruling Conservative party could win as many as 100 extra seats, as a way of securing the best possible Brexit deal for the UK. The party, which saw its parliamentary seats fall from 57 to eight in 2015, has tapped into the anti-Brexit movement that remains a powerful force across the country.

"I believe in campaigns where politicians actually get out and about and meet the voters", she said.

The spokesman noted that this did not mean there will be a delay in Brexit talks, "because negotiations were meant to start in June regardless of the United Kingdom government's decision to call an election on the 8th". May's strictly conservative vision of Britain with that of the Labour party, which is led by its most left-wing leader to date, and has, while backing the Brexit, promised to offer an "effective alternative" that involves, among other things, pumping more into the National Health Service and welfare, and raising corporation and individual taxes for the well-off. The premier has already backed out from televised debates, drawing fire from opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. TV debates don't have a long history in British politics, but were a feature of the last two elections, in 2010 and 2015.

The election is the fourth major vote in four years, after last June's European Union referendum, the 2015 general election, and the 2014 Scottish independence vote.

A comment piece by the party's sole MP, Caroline Lucas, and co-leader Jonathan Bartley said: "We understand that, in the immediate run-up to an election, signalling a willingness to work with other parties might be hard but we hope you'll agree that the times we are living in require leaders to be courageous and visionary, to actively build a more positive politics".

SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also argued that "broadcasters should empty chair her and go ahead anyway".

May enjoys a runaway lead in opinion polls over the main opposition Labour Party, and the British economy has so far defied predictions of a slowdown, offering her a strong base to launch a poll some lawmakers described as "opportunistic".

  • Leroy Wright