The UK would be welcome back in EU

The gap before talks begin in earnest in June gave her a "window of opportunity" to strengthen her hand by improving her slim 17-seat majority and pushing the next election date back to 2022, by which time the United Kingdom should have long ago left the EU.

It had been hoped talks could start by the end of that month, but EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Wednesday that "the real political negotiations" with Britain would not start till after the June 8 election.

The UK's upcoming general election should ease pressure on UK PM Theresa May to please her more hardline supporters, European Parliament chief Antonio Tajani has said.

The pro-Brexit, right-wing newspapers portrayed her decision as an aggressive move to strengthen her hand in the talks with the 27 other European Union members and to crush her domestic opponents.

The Prime Minister has accused opposition parties, including the SNP, of seeking to "divide the country" as MPs cleared the way for a snap general election on 8 June.

Riding high in the opinion polls, May is seeking to increase her slim majority of 17 in the 650-seat Commons before the battles begin with the European Union over Britain's exit bill and future trade and immigration ties.

Because she was not leading the Conservative Party at the time of the last general election, she has no personal mandate as leader.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said Mr Corbyn was letting down Britain by refusing to back a second referendum.

The move has, in any case, been welcomed by the opposition with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who stated the party would contest the government over its failure to fix the economy and public services.

"The deal we get will be vital for our future as a country so this is the time to get behind our strong Prime Minister and let her deliver the best outcome for Britain", said the Tory who has been South West Surrey's MP since 2005.

Several Labour lawmakers told The Guardian they felt their leader was too hasty in supporting a snap election based on Mrs May's terms and in a climate of national instability because of Brexit.

"I want a Labour government that makes sure that £10 an hour is the living wage and is paid to all workers all over the country".

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said that, for May, calling the election is "the political equivalent of taking candy from a baby". The majority of those people who voted for Brexit live in Labour's heartlands. "We expect to have the Brexit guidelines adopted by the European Council on April 29 and, following that, the Brexit negotiating directives ready on May 22".

The almost one million Brits in Europe would have a similar deal, but the European Council has said in a further document that it is keen to strike a security co-operation agreement with Britain that would also come under ECJ oversight.

"A second referendum is not our policy and it won't be in our manifesto", Corbyn's spokesperson said.

He said: "Theresa May's message is a very palpable one, that she needs the strongest possible hand and mandate to negotiate the strongest possible Brexit".

  • Leroy Wright