U.K. law­mak­ers ap­prove June 8 elec­tion date

Truro Daily News - - WORLD -

Bri­tish vot­ers will be head­ing to polling sta­tions for the third time since 2015, af­ter law­mak­ers over­whelm­ingly backed Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s call for a snap elec­tion June 8.

The par­lia­men­tary elec­tion comes less than a year af­ter Britain voted to leave the Euro­pean Union, and will likely be dom­i­nated by the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic up­heaval spawned by Brexit.

May, who took of­fice in July af­ter an in­ter­nal Con­ser­va­tive Party lead­er­ship race, wants the elec­tion to in­crease her ma­jor­ity in Par­lia­ment and con­sol­i­date her power as she faces both pro-EU op­po­si­tion politi­cians and hard-core Brexit-back­ers in­side her own party.

Law­mak­ers voted Wed­nes­day by a re­sound­ing 522 to 13 to back May’s call for an elec­tion, eas­ily sur­pass­ing the two-thirds ma­jor­ity in the 650-seat House of Com­mons needed to trig­ger an early vote.

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

She said the Con­ser­va­tives would pro­vide “strong and sta­ble lead­er­ship” for Brexit and be­yond, and promis­ing to wage “a pos­i­tive and op­ti­mistic cam­paign.”

Ear­lier, May said hold­ing an elec­tion in June, rather than as sched­uled in 2020, would “de­liver a more se­cure fu­ture for

our coun­try” as it ne­go­ti­ates its de­par­ture from the EU.

She said that wait­ing un­til 2020 would mean the “most sen­si­tive” part of the two-year Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions would come dur­ing the run-up to an elec­tion.

“That would be in no­body’s in­ter­est,” May said.

Now that law­mak­ers have ap­proved the elec­tion, Par­lia­ment will be dis­solved at mid­night on May 2, 25 work­ing days be­fore elec­tion day.

The op­po­si­tion Labour Party and Lib­eral Democrats wel­comed the chance to put their poli­cies to vot­ers, though the Scot­tish Na­tional Party called

the elec­tion a cyn­i­cal po­lit­i­cal ploy. Its law­mak­ers ab­stained dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s vote.

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn said the elec­tion “gives the Bri­tish peo­ple the chance to vote for a Labour gov­ern­ment that will put the in­ter­ests of the ma­jor­ity first.”

De­spite Cor­byn’s bravado, his party is de­mor­al­ized and di­vided un­der his left-wing lead­er­ship and is ex­pected to fare badly. Polls give the Con­ser­va­tives a dou­ble-digit lead over Labour, and May is gam­bling that an elec­tion will de­liver her a per­sonal man­date from vot­ers and pro­duce a big­ger Con­ser­va­tive ma­jor­ity.

AP PHOTO

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s call for a June 8 elec­tion comes less than a year af­ter Britain voted to leave the Euro­pean Union.

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