UK's Theresa May stuns with snap election call

Nick Mcbride
April 19, 2017

May's office says she will speak at 11:15 a.m. (1015GMT) Tuesday, after the weekly meeting of her Cabinet.

She had said in her announcement "there can be no turning back" on Britain's decision to leave the European Union, something she herself had campaigned against before last year's referendum. "I welcome the PM's decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first", he said.

Ms May's governing Conservatives now have a slight majority, with 330 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons.

But experts have pointed to polls which suggest the Conservatives will gain a stronger footing which will push forward the Brexit agenda.

Britain's second female prime minister also appears to have won strong popular support for her handling of the political natural disaster unleashed by Brexit. "May heads for election landslide" was the front-page headline in Wednesday's edition of The Times newspaper.

The Telegraph reflected the nation's surprise at the imminent election: "May's bolt from the blue".

The main opposition Labour Party is still in a state of civil war under its leader Jeremy Corbyn who remains estranged from many of his own MPs.

"What we will now have when we leave the European Union is the ability to have control in relation to people moving to the United Kingdom from the European Union".

Tusk, who is running the negotiations with Britain, said in Brussels that the election was a Brexit plot twist worthy of Alfred Hitchcock - the late film director known as the master of suspense.

"We need a general election and we need one now", May said. "We have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done. before the detailed talks begin", Ms May said.

The announcement caught British political observers off guard as well as financial markets, which retreated as investors reacted cautiously to May's speech.

Standing outside 10 Downing Street, May said she would ask the House of Com-mons on Wednesday to back her call for an election, three years before the next scheduled date in May 2020. "Labour will stand up for the people of Britain. I think it may be things a bit more divisive again, but we will have to wait and see", claimed another would-be voter. "Now we will be much freer", she told The Sun.

Her spokesman said she had the backing of her top team of ministers and had informed Queen Elizabeth of her plans on Monday.

Having repeatedly ruled out calling a snap election in the past, Mrs May said she had "reluctantly" taken the decision to go to the country after seeing other parties "playing games" with the process of preparing for Brexit negotiations.

So far, that is hard to detect, as the economy remains resilient, though this is before the European Union negotiations even start. However, prime ministers, in conjunction with Parliament, have the power to schedule elections for sooner than five years (whereas the U.S. Constitution mandates presidential elections every four years).

Other reports by VgToday

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