British Parliament approves snap election
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 21, 2017,
Apr 21, 2017, 2:59
UK Prime Minister Theresa May appealed to millions of voters to strengthen her position in Brexit negotiations by backing her Conservative Party as she sought approval from lawmakers for a national election on June 8.
Standing outside her Downing Street office, May said she had been reluctant about asking parliament to back her move to bring forward the poll from 2020. but decided it was necessary to try to stop the opposition "jeopardising" her work on Brexit.
With Mrs May needing the support of 434 MPs - two thirds of all seats in the House of Commons - some 522 voted for the early election, with just 13 against.
But Ms Richards said she did not believe a potential worsening of the economy to be a factor.
If that polling holds true, British voters could increase the conservatives' majority to 100 seats or more when they head to the polls in June, giving May more leverage in upcoming talks with the EU.
If May's plan is approved by Parliament, the election will be Britain's third general election in seven years, and it comes less than a year after the referendum that decided the United Kingdom would withdraw from the EU.
"That would be in nobody's interest", May said.
If MPs approve the vote, Parliament is expected to be dissolved on May 3, as British law mandates the dissolution must happen 25 working days before a general election.
In contrast, nearly all the MPs in May's Conservatives party (325 out of 330) voted for the early election.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the election "gives the British people the chance to vote for a Labour government that will put the interests of the majority first".
In a preview of her election strategy, Mrs May said: "I will be taking out to the country in this campaign a proud record of a Conservative government".
May's Conservatives now hold 330 House of Commons seats and Labour 229.
"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 on Wednesday (local time).
Sterling rose to a four-month high against the USA dollar after the market bet that May would strengthen her parliamentary majority, which Deutsche Bank said would be a "game-changer" for the pound. The Lib Dems now have just nine seats in Parliament.
The decision came after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had a phone call with May following her election announcement Tuesday.
Several MPs across parties announced their decision not to contest the election, including former chancellor George Osborne, recently appointed editor of the mass circulation Evening Standard.
The prime minister, who took office after David Cameron resigned following the European Union vote, is seeking a personal mandate for her plan to pull Britain out of Europe's single market.
She said that "Brexit isn't just about the letter that says we want to leave. It's about ... getting the right deal from Europe".
"Had the election been in 2020, we would have been coming up to the most crucial part of the negotiations at the end of the negotiations in what would be starting to be the run-up to a general election", she said.
The remaining 27 European Union countries will be asked to endorse Tusk's guidelines at a summit on April 29.
The Conservative Party has recorded its highest level of support since early 2008, according to a poll conducted after Prime Minister Theresa May called for a snap general election on June 8.
The premier has already backed out from televised debates, drawing fire from Corbyn.