UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls for snap election

Reneging on her earlier pledges, British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday called for a general election to be held on June 8th.

The House of Commons approved May’s request with a 522 to 13 vote this afternoon.

May, who had long insisted that no election should be held until 2020, claimed that political obstruction by Labour, Liberal Democrats, and the Scottish National Party (SNP), necessitated a snap election to strengthen “the government’s negotiating position in Europe”.

“At this moment of enormous national significance, there should be unity here in Westminster. But instead, there is division,” said May. “I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and see your support for the decisions I must make.”

On March 29th, May triggered Article 50 to begin the two-year negotiation process for the UK to exit the European Union. She tried to frame the upcoming election as another referendum to support her party’s positions on Brexit.

“Every vote for the Conservatives will make it hard for the opposition politicians who want to stop me from getting the job done. Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger when I negotiate for Britain with the prime ministers, presidents, and chancellors of the European Union,” said May. “Every vote for the Conservatives will mean we can stick to our plan for a stronger Britain and take the right long-term decisions for a more secure future.”

In a Mirror editorial, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote that he “welcome[s]” the snap election, which he tried to frame as not another referendum on Brexit but rather a referendum on the Conservative Party’s policies that widens the economic divide in the UK.

“[T]he decision to leave has already been settled by the British people. The question now is what sort of country do we want to be after Brexit,” wrote Corbyn.

“Labour will be offering a real alternative to a government that has failed to rebuild the economy and delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to our schools and NHS,” Corbyn wrote. “Instead of a country for the rich, Labour wants to see one in which all of us can lead richer lives.”

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