Theresa May calls General Election

Safya Khan-Ruf - 18 04 17

Theresa May has announced she’s calling a snap general election on 8 June, despite repeatedly claiming in the past that she was against an early vote.

She says she needs a fresh mandate to move ahead with Britain’s Brexit divorce from the European Union.

Figures from the populist and further right fringes, such as Arron Banks and UKIP leader Paul Nuttall, have been quick to jump on the election bandwagon.

“I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I have to make,” Theresa May said outside the steps of 10 Downing Street on Tuesday, as she called for opposition parties to accept an early election.

The announcement comes as a surprise since the Prime Minister has repeatedly ruled out a snap election. The next General Election would be scheduled in 2020, so the announcement marks a U-turn.

Holding an election allows May the opportunity to win a direct mandate. She took power last July after the Brexit EU Referendum led to David Cameron’s resignation.

May says she needs an election now because other parties are opposed to the government’s Brexit plans.

“At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division,” she said. She pointed to Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party as opponents that believe “our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course.”

“Obviously with this snap election UKIP, Arron Banks and Nigel Farage will be keen to capitalise on events and push their racist, divisive agenda,” said HOPE not hate chief executive Nick Lowles.

“It’s important that we all be prepared for the nastiness that will emerge from their corner. Already Banks has promised to stand in Clacton [former UKIP MP Douglas Carswell’s seat] and Paul Nuttall is clear in his intention to challenge Labour.”

The Lib Dems claim 1,000 people have joined their party since May announced the election this morning. All political parties will now be seeking injections of cash to help fight the general election.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said today’s announcement was “one of the most extraordinary U-turns in recent political history, and it shows that Theresa May is once again putting the interests of her party ahead of those of the country.”

In calling an early vote, May is hoping voters will give the Conservative Party a stronger mandate. It currently holds a narrow majority (holding 330 seats) in the 650-member House of Commons. May announced she would place a motion before Parliament by Wednesday.


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