Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

UK prime minister defends decision to seek snap election


Earlier, under electoral law, May must win a two thirds majority in a parliamentary vote due to be held later on Wednesday before she can officially call an early election.

May had previously said categorically that the next general election would be held as scheduled in 2020.

With the British economy so far defying predictions of a slowdown and instead showing stronger growth than expected, experts predict her ruling Conservative Party could win around 100 more seats.

May told the Commons an election was necessary to ensure "stability and certainty" for the country.

A European Commission spokesman said the "real political" negotiations on Brexit will start after the election.

The remark came in reaction to a statement of a spokeswoman for the British Brexit department who said on Monday that the location of the agencies had not been decided yet and would be "subject to the exit negotiations".

"If we do not hold a general election now their political game-playing will continue, and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most hard stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election".

Her plan comes as the main opposition Labour Party faces record lows in approval ratings.

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Within hours of the Prime Minister announcing her June 8 snap election, Labour leader Mr Corbyn threw down the gauntlet to Mrs May to agree to televised debates, which he said were "what democracy needs and what the British people deserve".

He added: "A vote for Labour is a vote for the best possible access to the single market, a vote for giving European Union citizens living in Britain the certainty they and their families deserve and a vote to ensure our businesses get the access to the skilled workforce they need to grow and create jobs for all Londoners". She now needed a mandate from the voters, and the election would give her one, she said. "It is about the crisis her government has plunged the NHS into, the cuts to to our children's schools which will limit chances of children, 4 million of whom live in poverty, a chance of an alternative to raise living standards, as more and more people do not have security in their work or over their housing".

However, one of Mr Corbyn's critics, Labour backbencher John Woodcock, said there was still time for the leader to quit ahead of the poll, "rather than lead Labour to defeat". The survey showed the Tories on 44% with Labour trailing on just 23%.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said that broadcasters should hold debates anyway, with an empty chair in May's place.

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. The SNP accused Mrs May of political opportunism but abstained in Wednesday's vote. But added: "Given the reality the Labour Party is going to be voting with the Tories, there will be a general election, and boy we look forward to that".

She said she preferred "to get out and about and meet voters".

"She expects a coronation and not a contest".

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