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United Kingdom general election: What will it mean for trade with the GCC?

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May needs two-thirds of parliament to agree to the early polls, and MPs will vote on whether to grant May's wish after deliberations on Wednesday.

May called for parliamentary election on June 8, just about the time Brussels has expected formal negotiations to start on the terms on which Britain will leave the European Union in March 2019.

May made a unexpected announcement Tuesday that she would seek a "snap" election less than halfway through her government's five-year term, with the aim of gaining a stronger mandate for the country's historic withdrawal from the European Union.

But her decision also opens the door to more uncertainty in the region, as it now puts Europe's three most powerful nations - Britain, Germany and France - into full-throttle election mode.

Delivering the latest jolt in Britain's year of political shocks, Prime Minister Theresa May called Tuesday for a snap June 8 general election, seeking to strengthen her hand in European Union exit talks and tighten her grip on a fractious Conservative Party.

May's comments, they argue, clearly implied that the real goal of an early election was to silence her critics in Parliament. The Conservative Party could expand its majority if there are no unforeseen changes in public opinion over the next two months, providing May with much more leeway to pass a Brexit deal without having to make concessions to other British parties.

Mrs May said that if she had not brought forward the date of the election, the Brexit negotiations would have been coming to a head just as the Government was preparing to go to the polls.

May told The Sun newspaper that if Britain were still negotiating with the bloc in the run-up to a national election, "the Europeans might have seen that as a time of weakness when they could push us".

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Although among British people, May has a high rating as prime minister, she only has a small majority in the House of Commons.

"We expect that the PM's gamble is likely to buy her more time as well as room for manoeuvre in the Brexit negotiations as she will depend less on fringe groups in her own party", said Citi's chief global political strategist, Tina Fordham.

"That's what this is about, it's about asking the people to trust me, to trust us in government, to give us that mandate to go and get that really good deal for the United Kingdom".

Mr Corbyn said Mrs May should not be "dodging" a head-to-head encounter, and the Lib Dems urged broadcasters to "empty-chair" the prime minister - hold a debate without her.

She said "division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit".

Not only had May previously ruled out an early vote, but some legal observers had said that such a move would go against the intentions of British electoral law.

The UK held its previous election in 2015, with the next one only due in 2020.

During the weekly session of Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, May accused opposition MPs of trying to thwart the Brexit process.

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