British Prime Minister Theresa May today appealed to the public to trust her decision to call for an early general election on June 8, saying the move will strengthen her hand in the complex Brexit negotiations. Her plea came as MPs prepare to vote on the motion in the House of Commons.
The move is expected to receive the two-thirds majority it requires for May to overturn the UK’s Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which would have seen an election being held only in 2020. “I trust the British public. I am asking them to put their trust in me and if they do that, if they give me a mandate for these negotiations for the plan for Brexit that the Government has, the plan for a stronger Britain beyond Brexit that we have, then I think that will strengthen our hand,” 61-year-old May said.
“I genuinely came to this decision reluctantly having looked at the circumstances and having looked ahead at the process of negotiation. I want this country to be able to play the strongest hand possible in those negotiations and be in a position to get the best possible deal. That is in our long- term interest. That is what this is about,” she said.
The Prime Minister had stunned the UK when she called for a snap poll in an announcement yesterday.May has framed the election, in which her ruling Conservative party could win as many as 100 extra seats, as a way of securing the best possible Brexit deal for the UK.
Political pundits in Britain are also attributing the move as a direct attack on a weakened Opposition, the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) has signalled its MPs will abstain in the vote and Labour and the Liberal Democrats, while accusing May of political opportunism, have welcomed the prospect of an early election.
May, who had taken charge as Prime Minister just weeks after Britain’s voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, had repeatedly dismissed the idea of an early election.
However, yesterday she said she had a “change of heart” in order to bring unity within the political corridors of Britain.
She has categorically denied the June 8 poll will be a sort of re-run of last year’s referendum, saying there could be no “turning back” on the Brexit decision but if she was re-elected, it would be a vote of confidence in her government’s central goals of gaining “control” of the UK’s laws, borders and money.
May has also ruled out taking part in TV debates with Corbyn and her other political opponents, saying she believed elections were all about “getting out and about and meeting voters” and, in her words, “knocking on doors”.