UK lawmakers back prime minister's call for June 8 election

Frederick Owens
April 20, 2017

She will likely get it, since Labour has welcomed the early election.

The Prime Minister gave a short speech in a parish hall in Walmsley, a village in the Labour target seat of Bolton North East, as the scramble for votes begins hours after MPs voted to clear the way for the June 8 poll.

Standing outside her Downing Street office, May said she had been reluctant about asking parliament to back her move to bring forward the election from 2020, but decided it was necessary to win support for her ruling Conservative Party's efforts to press ahead with Britain's departure from the EU.

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 outlines that general elections are scheduled to take place every five years.

Earlier Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the public "cannot trust" May as the two clashed over the snap election.

Corbyn accused the government of "broken promises" on health, education and the economy during its seven years in office.

The result easily surpasses the two-thirds majority of the 650 lawmakers needed to trigger an early vote.

Political leaders' TV debates featured in the last two general elections, in 2010 and 2015. She said she was confident of reaching a deal in that time frame.

Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday won parliament's backing for an early election.

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. Opinion polls give them a big lead over the Labour opposition, and May is gambling that an election will deliver her a personal mandate from voters and produce a bigger Conservative majority in Parliament.

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Britain's prime minister has defended her decision to seek a snap election.

But, while May is trying to focus the election debate on Brexit, Corbyn is looking to harness the powerful anti-establishment mood revealed by the European Union referendum, which has roots stretching back to the 2007-9 financial crisis.

That should help her negotiate a strong Brexit deal. The United Kingdom will have no say in the process.

That approach risks satisfying neither its traditional working-class supporters, many of whom backed leaving the European Union, or its urban, pro-European members - leaving many commentators predicting an electoral disaster.

That would limit the scope for parliament to block or water down her plan for Britain to quit the European Union single market and to prioritize immigration control.

The First Minister said the SNP was fighting to win the election in Scotland, but did not need to secure a majority of the vote to keep up the pressure for a second independence referendum.

However, it is likely to take a few days, assuming victory on June 8, for May to confirm her negotiating team; it is now led by Brexit Secretary David Davis, who unlike May is a long-time opponent of Britain's membership of the Union.

They also say that a big victory for May will dilute the influence of those lawmakers pushing for a "hard Brexit" as well as strengthening May's overall negotiating stance.

The pound rallied on speculation that May will be returned with a stronger mandate, but this caused London's FTSE 100 index - which features many multinationals earning in dollars - to fall.

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