British Parliament backs PM's call for June general election over 'Brexit'
Apr 20 2017 by Kathy Alvarado
It's a testament to the unexpectedness of Theresa May's call for a snap general election that even in the hour before the announcement, when her office had indicated that the British Prime Minister would be speaking on the steps of Downing Street, many still questioned what the nature of the announcement could be.
UPDATE 6.30pm: Theresa May asked voters for the mandate to lead post-Brexit Britain as she rallied Tory troops for the looming election campaign ahead.
May, who reversed her position Tuesday, told leaders there was a "window of opportunity" to hold a poll before negotiations begin in earnest in June in departing from the EU.
However, Tuesday she said she had a "change of heart" in order to bring unity within the political corridors of Britain.
Labour has said it will back the government on Brexit as long as certain conditions are respected, such as retaining strong economic ties with the European Union and defending workers' and environmental rights.
In a speech launching his general election campaign the Labour leader will say he would not "play by the rules" during the contest, and that his party would "put the interests of the majority first".
"This election is about her government's failure to rebuild the economy and living standards for the majority", he said. Put up alongside the predictions that the United Kingdom will seek to weasel out of the legal ramifications of failing to meet its energy targets in the face of Brexit, and the country's already sliding record on environment and energy looks set to slide further out of their grasp.
Scottish National Party (SNP) leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (R, front) speaks outside the houses of Parliament with deputy SNP leader Angus Robertson in London, Britain, on April 19, 2017. A spokesman said: "Our answer is no. The choice at this election is already clear".
The election is the fourth major vote in four years, after last June's European Union referendum, the 2015 general election, and the 2014 Scottish independence vote.
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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.
The move was a shock on many levels, not least of all the short amount of time until the election, nor the fact that Theresa May has been vehemently against such a move for some time now.
Labour Party shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said May had chose to "cut and run" ahead of Brexit negotiations and predicted an unpleasant campaign under the management of spin-doctor Lynton Crosby, the man behind the dirty campaigning for Zac Goldsmith when he ran against Labour's Sadiq Khan in the London mayoral election.
Khan said, "I will be fighting hard for every Labour vote over the coming weeks - a Labour government is in the best interests of all Londoners and the whole country".
Both Sturgeon's Scottish Nationalists and the Liberal Democrats want Britain to remain in the EU's single market - something May has ruled out, along with a referendum on any deal she wins.
As BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg outlined in her blog yesterday, the government realized that winding up Brexit negotiations while preparing for an election would spell political disaster down the line.
Elections took place in May 2015 and were not expected until May 2020.
"They'd rather see a Labour party defeated than the Labour Party be successful with Corbyn at the helm", he said. UKIP no longer has any Members of Parliament.
Analysis of polling data conducted by the Times newspaper showed May could win a landslide majority of 114 seats, up from the Conservatives' 12-seat victory in 2015.