Theresa May seeks early election to take United Kingdom through Brexit

Apr 19, 2017, 09:35

"Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority", he said. But May's decision means that Europe's three most powerful nations - France, Germany and Britain - will be convulsed by internal election campaigns as the clock ticks on the two-year deadline to complete Brexit negotiations.

Ms May took office last July after David Cameron, her predecessor, resigned amidst the Brexit referendum result. Their new leader Paul Nuttall says "this election will provide a ideal opportunity for the 52% to vote for UKIP, the only party wholeheartedly committed to a clean, quick and efficient Brexit". The story of the election will run beyond the two big parties as well.

British Prime Minister Theresa May had earlier on Tuesday called for a snap election, saying she needed to strengthen her hand in divorce talks with the European Union by bolstering support for her Brexit plan. "Let us put forward our plans for Brexit and our alternative programs for government and then let the people decide", May said.

At present, May's governing Conservatives have a small majority, with 330 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons. It will give the Scottish National Party, which grabbed dozens of seats from Labour in the 2015 national election, a new chance to reissue its call for Scottish independence. "Since I became Prime Minister I have said that there should be no election until 2020", Ms May said on Tuesday.

By opting for early elections, Mrs May is not only silencing opponents within her own party, but also rebuffing anyone hoping that she may change her mind.

Bale said a bigger majority would give May a new batch of loyal Conservative lawmakers and leave her less at the mercy of euroskeptics in her party "who otherwise could have made negotiations much more hard".

The stronger pound helped to push down Britain's main share index, which was headed for the biggest one-day drop since June 27, days after Britain voted to leave the EU.

"For investors (the election) adds another layer of complexity to an already uncertain picture for United Kingdom and European assets". We are now six weeks away from June 8 and no talks have taken place.

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Polls give May's Conservatives a double-digit lead on Labour.

If Western democracies have learned anything over the past year, it is that elections are unpredictable.

The Liberal Democrats called on broadcasters to go ahead with the debates, leaving an empty chair or podium where May would have stood.

The FTSE 100, often volatile on news that brings any uncertainty, endured its biggest one-day fall since June 27th - just after the European Union referendum.

"The British people can still avoid Brexit", Leinen said.

He added: "Hopefully, the new election announced today by Prime Minister May can lead to more clarity and predictability in the negotiations with the European Union".

In reaction to the proposed 8 June ballot, the European Parliament's Brexit negotiator has said the election is a chance for Britons to show what EU relationship they want.

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