UK election will strengthen government's hand in EU talks, May says

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May made an unexpected announcement on Tuesday that she would seek a "snap" election less than halfway through her government's five-year term, with the aim of gaining a stronger mandate for the country's historic withdrawal from the European Union.

Mrs May used the visit to reiterate her message that the election is about ensuring Britain has "strong and stable leadership" going into Brexit negotiations.

In a speech in London, he will say that Labour will fight on behalf of Britain's "true wealth creators" and overturn a "rigged system" which favours rich individuals and businesses.

Brexit negotiations seem to have been side-lined by the French and now British elections.

Even though opinion polls show the Conservative Party is likely to perform strongly, lawmakers from the opposition parties were expected to go along with May's call - perhaps out of fear that resisting an early election would make them look weak. "The result is not certain", she said in a speech at a GlaxoSmithKline factory in her electoral area of Maidenhead, west of London.The Labour party has been riven by divisions over its leader Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit, while May's commitment to a clean break with the European Union has undermined support for the eurosceptic UK Independence Party.

MPs voted overnight by a resounding 522 to 13 to back May's call for an election, easily surpassing the two-thirds majority in the 650-seat House of Commons needed to trigger an early vote.

Earlier, May said holding an election in June, rather than as scheduled in 2020, would "deliver a more secure future for our country" as it negotiates its departure from the EU.

London and Brussels have been at odds on whether talks on the divorce arrangements, including costs, should take place at the same time as negotiations for a trade deal between post-Brexit Britain and the EU. I'm not taking anything for granted.

May became prime minister after the country voted in a June referendum to leave the bloc, prompting her predecessor, David Cameron, to resign. She held a meeting with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani. "The election gives the British people the chance to change direction".

The Prime Minister's office at No. 10 Downing Street said that May will not engage in any public television debates with Corbyn. Far from undermining support for Corbyn, the Labour leader actually increased his majority.

Voters are unlikely to relish the prospect of another election and, given the volatility of politics, it is possible - though unlikely - that May's decision could backfire.

She said that "Brexit isn't just about the letter that says we want to leave".

Simon Tilford of the Centre for European Reform predicted that, despite the divisive nature of the Brexit referendum, May would win a massive majority of 130-150 seats because of the opposition Labour party's weakness.

  • Leroy Wright