Pound surge suggests UK election will yield smoother Brexit

Owen Stevens
April 21, 2017

MPs have backed Theresa May's calls for a general election to be held on June 8.

May wasted no time, going from the vote in Parliament to kick off her campaign with a speech in to supporters northwestern England.

"The country is together, Westminster is not", she said.

"I will be asking the British people for a mandate to complete Brexit and to make a success of it", the Conservative leader said, to cheers from her lawmakers sitting behind her.

Britain's next national election is now scheduled for 2020, a year after the scheduled completion of two years of European Union exit talks. First, the postponement of the previous next elections from 2020 to 2022 allows more time and flexibility for the Brexit process, avoiding the possible scenario where either a prolongation of the talks beyond March 2019 or a very hard Brexit (no seamless trade deal reached with EU) create political turmoil in 2020.

Two EU agencies employing more than 1,000 in London will definitely move to the continent, despite United Kingdom attempts to keep them after Brexit, officials say.

May, Britain's second female prime minister, also has strong popular support for her handling of the political quake unleashed by Brexit.

Polling site Electoral Calculus, which surveyed more than 10,000 people last month, predicts that the Conservatives will increase their seats in parliament from 330 to 381, and that Labour will drop from 229 seats to 182.

The Conservative majority forecast by the latest opinion polls might actually soften Brexit by making May less bound to hardliners in her party during delicate negotiations in Brussels, Ford said. "Only a LibDems vote offers an internationalist, sensible and electable alternative to the Tory Brexit Government".

The Prime Minister's spokesman said the Government was aiming to dissolve Parliament on 3 May, 25 working days before election day.

"This should cross party lines", he said in a statement hours after Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans for a June 8 vote.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said that, for May, calling the election is "the political equivalent of taking candy from a baby".

Leaders of European Union states are due to adopt negotiating guidelines at an April 29 summit, and the bloc will prepare detailed plans for the talks with Britain by late May.

May ruled out participating in televised debates with other leaders.

Voters could give Europhile politicians a boost in Britain's upcoming election, but the effect will be limited and the prospect of a grand alliance to soften Brexit is improbable, analysts said.

The election is the fourth major vote in four years, after last June's European Union referendum, the 2015 general election, and the 2014 Scottish independence vote.

And he challenged the Prime Minister to face him in a public debate.

Rejecting the PM's claim that an election is needed to prevent disunity at Westminster undermining a Brexit deal, Mr Corbyn said: "There is no obstacle to the Government negotiating, but, instead of getting on with the job, she is painting herself as the prisoner of the Liberal Democrats".

Other reports by VgToday

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