UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday called for [statement, text] an early general election to take place on June 8th of this year as opposed to the scheduled 2020 general election. May’s decision to call for the election is thought to have been spurred by political divisions in parliament as the talks on Brexit with the European Union (EU) [official website] are sent to begin soon. The May’s motion for the election will need the support of 2/3 of the Members of Parliament to go into effect. May’s Conservative Party currently holds 330 of the 650 seats, a slim majority, in the House of Commons [official website]. In calling for the snap election, the hope appears to be to give her party a stronger mandate in the House of Commons in order to avoid going into negotiations with the EU in a divided state. In her speech, May called for unity in the House of Commons, saying:
So, tomorrow, let the House of Commons vote for an election, let everybody put forward their proposals for Brexit and their programmes for Government, and let us remove the risk of uncertainty and instability and continue to give the country the strong and stable leadership it demands.
The Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has welcomed May’s call for the early election to give the people a chance to vote for the government they want.
Since its conception over the summer, Brexit has been a hot topic in Europe. Most recently, on March 31st, European Union President Donald Tusk laid out plans [JURIST Report] for the EU’s future negotiations with the UK about Brexit. On March 30th, the UK published [JURIST report] the Great Repeal Bill, which outlined the process to solve issues that could arise as Britain leaves the EU. Prior to that, Prime Minister may triggered [JURIST report] Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on March 29th, which formally began the legal process of Britain leaving the European Union. Earlier in March, the EU Withdrawal Bill (Brexit Bill) received [JURIST report] royal assent and officially became UK law. In June a majority of UK citizens voted [JURIST report] to leave the EU due to a growing discontent with EU policies, including immigration. At the time, critics of Brexit were concerned [Reuters report] with the domestic and global economic implications, as the UK would be cut off from European trade markets unless an agreement could be reached.