Prime min­is­ter calls for early election

The Observer (Sarnia) - - WORLD NEWS - JILL LAW­LESS

LON­DON — In a shock announcement, Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May on Tues­day called for an early gen­eral election to be held June 8 to seek a strong man­date as she ne­go­ti­ates Britain’s exit from the Euro­pean Union.

May said she would ask the House of Com­mons on Wed­nes­day to back her call for an election, just two years af­ter the last vote and three years be­fore the next sched­uled date in May 2020.

She said that since Bri­tons voted to leave the EU in June, the coun­try had come to­gether, but politi­cians had not. She said the po­lit­i­cal di­vi­sions “risk our abil­ity to make a suc­cess of Brexit.”

At present, May’s gov­ern­ing Con­ser­va­tives have a small ma­jor­ity, with 330 seats in the 650-seat House of Com­mons.

May trig­gered a two-year count­down to Britain’s exit from the EU last month, and negotiations to set­tle di­vorce terms and agree on a new re­la­tion­ship are ex­pected to start within weeks. Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk tweeted that he had a “good phone call” with May about the election, and the coun­cil said the bloc’s Brexit plans were un­changed by the announcement. Lead­ers of EU states are due to adopt ne­go­ti­at­ing guide­lines at an April 29 sum­mit.

May said that if there is not an election soon, “the negotiations with the Euro­pean Union will reach their most dif­fi­cult stage in the runup to the next sched­uled election.”

“Di­vi­sion in West­min­ster will risk our abil­ity to make a suc­cess of Brexit and it will cause dam­ag­ing un­cer­tainty and in­sta­bil­ity to the coun­try,” she said.

May said that “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” on leaving the EU.

“They are wrong,” she said. “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.”

An election is still a risk for May, and could widen di­vi­sions within the U.K. The coun­try voted 52 per cent to leave the EU, but Scot­land backed re­main­ing by a large ma­jor­ity, and Scot­tish First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon is seek­ing to hold a ref­er­en­dum on in­de­pen­dence from the U.K.


Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May speaks to the me­dia in Lon­don on Tues­day. May wants an early gen­eral election as Britain prepares for negotiations on leaving the Euro­pean Union.

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