PRIME Minister Theresa May
won parliament’s backing for an
early election on Wednesday, a
vote she said would strengthen
her hand in divorce talks with the
European Union and help heal
divisions in Britain.
May surprised allies and
opponents on Tuesday when
she announced her plan to bring
forward an election that was not
due until 2020, saying she needed
to avoid a clash of priorities in the
sensitive final stages of the twoyear
Brexit talks.
After addressing a rowdy
session of the House of
Commons, May won the support
of 522 lawmakers in the 650-seat
parliament for an election on June
8. Only 13 voted against.
With May seen winning a new
five-year mandate and boosting
her majority in parliament by
perhaps 100 seats, the pound
held close to six-and-a-half
month highs on hopes she may
be able to clinch a smoother, more
phased departure from the EU
and minimize damage to the UK
economy.
“I believe that at this moment
of enormous national significance
there should be unity here in
Westminster, not division,” she
said.
“A general election will provide

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the country with five years of
strong and stable leadership to
see us through the negotiations
and ensure we are able to go on
to make a success as a result, and
that is crucial.”
The former interior minister,
who became prime minister
without an election when her
predecessor David Cameron quit
after last year’s referendum vote
for Brexit, enjoys a runaway lead
over the main opposition Labour
Party in opinion polls.
She has also played up the
strength of the economy, which
has so far defied predictions of
a slowdown – a key campaign
theme that her Conservative
Party will use to try to undermine
Labour in the election.
A victory would give May a
powerful mandate extending
until 2022, long enough to cover
the Brexit negotiations plus a
possible transition period into
new trading arrangements with
the EU.
The Sun, Britain’s top-selling
newspaper, splashed the headline
“Blue Murder” – a reference to
the Conservatives’ party color
and the prospect of Labour losing
dozens of seats.
May formally notified the
European Union on March 29
of Britain’s intention to leaveand

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has said she is confident
of reaching a deal on the terms
of withdrawal in the two years
available.
She said on Tuesday she had
“reluctantly” come to the decision
to call for an early election because
of political division in Westminster,
criticizing opposition parties for
trying to thwart her plans for
leaving the EU.
“What do we know that the
leader of the Labour Party, the
leader of the Liberal Democrats
and the leader of the Scottish
nationalists have in common?”
she asked parliament.
“They want to unite together to
divide our country and we will
not let them do it.”
But for Scotland’s first minister,
Nicola Sturgeon, the move was a
“huge political miscalculation”
that could help the Scottish
National Party’s efforts to hold an
independence vote.
“If the SNP wins this election
in Scotland and the Tories
(Conservatives) don’t, then
Theresa May’s attempt to block
our mandate to give the people of
Scotland a choice over their own
future when the time is right will
crumble to dust,” said Sturgeon,
who heads Scotland’s devolved
government.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

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set the tone for his campaign by
criticizing May for her “broken
promises” on healthcare and
education, and jabbed at her
for not agreeing to take part in
television debates before the
election.
May, who has described
herself as “not a showy
politician”, said she would
rather talk directly to voters.
“I will be debating these issues
publicly across the country,”
she told parliament. “We will
be taking a proud record of a
Conservative government, but
more than that we will taking
our plans for the future of this
country.”


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