June 8 will see an early general election in the UK as Prime Minister Theresa May seeks a stronger mandate while she negotiates Britain’s exit from the European Union. She needs to strengthen her hand in ‘divorce talks’ with the European Union by shoring up support for her Brexit plan.
In a speech she delivered outside 10 Downing Street on Tuesday morning, Ms. May said she would ask the House of Commons on Wednesday to back her call for an election, three years before the next scheduled date in May 2020.
Politicians are divided over Brexit whereas Britons were united in their vote for Brexit that happened in June. She said these divisions “risk [the UK’s] ability to make a success of Brexit”.
At present, Ms. May’s governing Conservatives have 330 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons.
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“Our opponents believe that because the Government’s majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course,” she said.
“They are wrong. They underestimate our determination to get the job done and I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country.”
Although elections are held every five years in the UK, the prime minister can call a snap election provided two-thirds of lawmakers vote for it in the House of Commons.
The Prime Minister spoke to Queen Elizabeth II by phone on Monday, and said that an early election would not affect the timetable for Brexit, reported a spokesperson for the Prime Minister.
Various politicians expressed their opinion over the Prime Minister’s decision. The leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has welcomed the decision, however, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose party seeks independence from the United Kingdom and opposes leaving the EU, said Ms. May was trying to force Britain into a “hard Brexit”.
“The [Conservatives] see a chance to move the UK to the right, force through a hard Brexit and impose deeper [public spending] cuts. Let’s stand up for Scotland,” Ms. Sturgeon said.
The call for a snap election came as a shock. In July 2016, David Cameron, the then Prime Minister of UK, resigned from office because he failed to get voters to back remaining in the European Union. Theresa May took over as the Prime Minister and has since opposed the idea of an early election. But now she has changed her mind regarding the matter.
“It was with reluctance that I decided the country needs this election, but it is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond,” she said.
Since the aftermath of the Brexit referendum last June, British shares have plummeted. Many companies are partially or completely relocating to the EU following Brexit. Two-fifths of games companies based in the UK are considering relocating out of the country in the wake of Brexit, a survey has found. 57% of UK games companies employ workers from the EU. According to a survey conducted by international law firm Gowling WLG, nearly 40 per cent of US businesses with a base in the UK are considering moving elsewhere in the EU because of Brexit, warning that the vote to leave could also hit trade relations between Britain and America.
Leading international UK-based banks to fear that a hard Brexit will result in the UK leaving Europe’s single market and therefore signal the loss of crucial ‘passporting’ rights, which allow them to sell their services freely across the rest of the EU and gives firms based in Europe unfettered access to Britain.
The FTSE 100 dropped 1.6 percent to its lowest in more than seven weeks as the sterling inched higher, further weighing on the index’s stocks, most of which get earnings in foreign currencies.