In a surprise announcement, Prime Minister Theresa May has called for a general election to be held on June 8th.
PM: "I want to explain the reasons for that decision, what will happen next and the choice facing the British people when you come to vote" pic.twitter.com/Z0H9F9by9a
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) April 18, 2017
In her statement outside Downing Street, the Prime Minister said, “After the country voted to leave the EU, Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership. Since I became prime minister the government has delivered precisely that.”
She added, “[a general election will] guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I must take”.
She continued to explain that Labour, the Lib-Dem’s, the SNP’s and others had opposed the Conservatives and their Brexit agreements. “The country is coming together but Westminster is not. Labour have threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach. The Lib Dems have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill. Unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way.”
Although the reasoning and timing for this election makes sense, it is particularly surprising considering in an interview in September 2016, Theresa May categorically stated she would not call for a snap General Election before 2020 as the she believes the UK needs stability.
I welcome the PM’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first pic.twitter.com/9P3X6A2Zpw
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) April 18, 2017
This is your chance to change the direction of your country pic.twitter.com/wfj4wC7yn3
— Tim Farron (@timfarron) April 18, 2017
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) April 18, 2017
The Tories see a chance to move the UK to the right, force through a hard Brexit and impose deeper cuts. Let's stand up for Scotland. #GE17
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) April 18, 2017
This is what I said would happen – Sunday Times, start of the year – and what follows now is a GE unlike any in modern times
— Andrew Marr (@AndrewMarr9) April 18, 2017
Professor of politics at Strathclyde University explained that the average polls currently have Conservatives on 42% and Labour 27%, and therefore, this general election could significantly improve dealings in Westminster for May and the Conservatives.
Politics correspondent with the Times Lucy Fisher commented, “[Theresa May] promised she wouldn’t do this with Brexit going on. Is calling a general election going to create more instability for the country?”
Labour MP John Mann has said, “Theresa May is trying to give herself a new mandate, which will leave her flexible to do what she wants with Brexit.”
Tory MP and former Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith says the Prime Minister’s move to hold an early general election “is not about Brexit”. He added, “It’s about electing a government with a strong mandate, to both get on with Brexit but also to carry on with normal domestic business.
More reaction to follow.