Back to the ballot box: United Kingdom lawmakers approve June 8 election

Kristopher Drake
April 20, 2017

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has responded to the news that Prime Minister, Theresa May is seeking Parliamentary approval to hold a snap General Election on 8th June by urging all political parties to continue to focus on the UK's business foundations.

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

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has welcomed the election and says all Labour MPs will face a ballot to earn their seats. A fall in support for the Scottish National Party (SNP) would undermine its call for a second referendum on independence.

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.

May has said a successful election for her would be a vote of confidence in her government's key objectives of establishing more control over the UK's laws, finances and borders.

"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.

That would make it easier for her to ignore opposition calls for a softer European Union exit - making compromises to retain some benefits of membership - and to face down hardliners within her own party who want a no-compromise "hard Brexit" that many economists fear could be devastating.

"The outcome of the United Kingdom election now adds an element of short-term uncertainty about how the Brexit negotiations will unfold, while the big rally in the British pound has increased volatility and had a knock-on impact on the United Kingdom stock market".

Theresa May has announced her intention to hold a snap general election to strengthen her hand going into the Brexit negotiations.

May enjoys a runaway lead in opinion polls over the main opposition Labour Party, and the British economy has so far defied predictions of a slowdown, offering her a strong base to launch a poll some lawmakers described as "opportunistic". The Lib Dems now have just nine seats in Parliament. The UK split 52 per cent to 48 per cent in favour of Leaving the EU in 2016, but there is little polling evidence of this division carrying over into party politics, with Ukip support declining since the referendum and the strongly pro-EU Liberal Democrats struggling to make significant inroads in the polls.

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.

(/PA via AP). Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon leaves Bute House in Edinburgh Tuesday April 18, 2017. "They're quite right I don't", he said in extracts of his speech released beforehand.

European Union officials say Britain's surprise election will not interrupt the bloc's preparations for Brexit talks - though they will slightly delay the start of negotiations.

Corbyn later ruled out any post-election coalition with the Scottish National Party.

The broadcaster said it will host a debate ahead of the election on 8 June to be chaired by Julie Etchingham, as it had done for the 2010 and 2015 general elections, and will release details in due course.

Corbyn said May's decision had given voters the chance "to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first", while Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the election provided an opportunity to block "a disastrous hard Brexit".

Mr Corbyn retorted: "We welcome the general election but this is a Prime Minister who promised there wouldn't be one, a Prime Minister who can not be trusted".

But May also confirmed she was not prepared to submit to the scrutiny of television debates, claiming: "I believe in campaigns in which politicians actually go out and meet the voters", she said.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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