Prime Minister Theresa May has called for an election on June 8, saying she needed to strengthen her hand in divorce talks with the European Union by shoring up support for her Brexit plan.
Standing outside her Downing Street office, May said she had been reluctant about asking parliament to back her move to bring forward the election from 2020, but decided it was necessary to win support for her ruling Conservative Party’s efforts to press ahead with Britain’s departure from the EU.
Some were surprised by her move – she has repeatedly said she does not want to be distracted by time-consuming campaigning – but opinion polls give her a strong lead, the economy is weathering the Brexit vote and she has faced opposition from her own party for some of her domestic reforms.
May, who was appointed prime minister after the country voted in favour of Brexit in June last year, enjoys a large lead in the opinion polls, with 50 percent saying she would be the best prime minister. The leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, won 14 percent, pollster YouGov said.
Before holding the election, May must first win the support of two-thirds of the parliament in a vote on Wednesday (April 19). Labour said it will vote in favour of a new election, meaning she should be able to get it through.