British parliament backs May's plan for snap election

Owen Stevens
April 23, 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May has called for snap elections on June 8 after she won an overwhelming backing of MPs.

May formally notified the European Union on March 29 of Britain's intention to leave, and has said she is confident of reaching a deal on the terms of withdrawal in the two years available.

May, who has described herself as "not a showy politician", also said she would not take part in television debates before the election, preferring to talk directly to voters.

Speaking on Facebook, Nick Coyne said: "Let's see how her Brexit negotiations go first, then have an election".

UK Parliament approves Prime Minister's early election callThe British Parliament approved a snap general election on Wednesday, even though general elections weren't due for another three years.

President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani says Brexit (the United Kingdom leaving the European Union) could be reversed if the stance of the British government shifts after the elections, APA reports quoting Sputnik.

"I want this country to be able to play the strongest hand possible in those negotiations to get the best possible deal because that's in our long-term interests".

"The country is coming together, but Westminster is not".

Initially, EU officials had said that the talks could start in late May once a detailed negotiating mandate had been agreed among the EU's 27 other members.

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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.

Meanwhile, former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg confirmed that he will fight to retain his Sheffield Hallam seat for the Liberal Democrats.

If her Conservative Party wins a majority, as surveys expect it to, May would not be required to call another general election until 2022.

May's office said she and Tajani agreed "on the importance of giving early certainty about the status of British citizens living elsewhere in the European Union and citizens of other member states in the U.K".

Before May's surprise decision to call a vote, the next election had been scheduled for May 2020, little over a year after the date on which the expected to leave the EU.

"We need a general election and we need one now".

Both Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and top Liberal Democrat Tim Farron backed the move, while Nicola Sturgeon's SNP abstained.

Labour trails a long way behind Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives in opinion polls, and many within the party believe 67-year-old socialist Corbyn is too left-wing to connect with voters.

Other reports by VgToday

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