Kenny speaks to May on phone following snap election announcement

Faith Castro
April 19, 2017

President of the European Council Donald Tusk said the election was a Brexit plot twist worthy of master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock.

Mrs May said she had "only recently and reluctantly" concluded that an election was desirable, and blamed opposition parties and the House of Lords for weakening her negotiating position with the EU.

No wonder that several Labour members of Parliament said they were shocked by the snap election plans, fearing that the early vote will only benefit the Prime Minister.

But after Mrs May announced she would seek the poll, it climbed, reaching as high as $1.2679. Both the Conservative and Labour Party say they want to carry out last year's vote to leave the European Union, so calling off Brexit looks very unlikely.

A snap election is an election called earlier than we thought - in this case, the next one was expected in May 2020.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in comments to the Funke newspaper group published Tuesday that "any long uncertainty definitely will not do political and economic relations between Europe and Britain any good".

"I believe this election is your chance to change the direction of our country".

The British currency, which had weakened before the announcement, was up by more than a cent against the dollar.

Against the euro, the pound was hovering around €1.180, rising from a 0.4% loss. Two polls over the Easter weekend put the Conservatives 21 points ahead of Labour, a lead that, if translated into votes, would greatly increase the party's existing working Commons majority of 17.

Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital, said: "For investors it adds another layer of complexity to an already uncertain picture for United Kingdom and European assets".

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To do that, we need your votes. The reasons for the Labour Party to support new elections are less clear, but Jeremy Corbyn, the unpopular Labour leader, has already vowed to back May's plan.

Clearly this is no different for our Prime Minister, who post-holiday, has come to realise what most of us have known for a while: she has no mandate.

May said Tuesday that the divisions in Parliament explained her change of heart on an early election.

What is a general election?

Corbyn, 67, enjoys grassroots support from left-wingers but is opposed by most of the party's more centrist lawmakers, who say that Labour under his leadership is not appealing to the middle classes.

Back in July 2016, political leaders and nearly 200,000 people demanded May hold a general election.

Not only had May previously ruled out an early vote, but some legal observers had said that such a move would go against the intentions of British electoral law. "Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority". A resounding win would bolster her mandate in upcoming talks with the European Union over the country's exit.

She said: "Brexit presents many exciting opportunities".

But it is not that unusual for prime ministers who have tiny Commons majorities to hold an election to tighten their grip on power.

Sterling rose to a four-month high against the US dollar after the market bet that May would strengthen her parliamentary majority, which Deutsche Bank said would be a "game-changer" for the pound.

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