British Prime Minister Theresa May made a surprising announcement today when she called for an early general election on June 8, just as Britain is preparing for delicate negotiations on leaving the European Union.
May had repeatedly denied in the past that she would seek an early general election. But the Prime Minister sounded very determined today. She said that they need the general election, and they need it now. She stressed that they get this moment a "one-off" chance to get the election done before the detailed Brexit talks begin.
May spoke outside her Downing Street residence in London and issued the warning that division in Westminster will risk their ability to turn Brexit into a success. May also announced that the parliament would be asked to vote on Wednesday to decide whether or not to hold an early election.
Some observers were quick to comment that perhaps May would just like to take full advantage of current favorable poll results for her party. A round of opinion polls done over the Easter weekend showed her Conservative Party way ahead of the main opposition The Labour Party. May's party got between 38 percent and 46 percent, with Labour only managing to get 23 percent to 29 percent, according to the polls conducted by YouGov, ComRes and Opinium. The wide poll lead had triggered many senior Conservatives to call for an election.
It will be crucial for May to enjoy a strong parliamentary majority when she negotiates Britain's departure from the European Union. The Conservatives have a working majority of only 17 from the last election in 2015, while there are also some of their MPs who said they could vote against the government on some important aspects of the Brexit legislation.
Britain's next election is scheduled in 2020 as enshrined in their legislation which says that elections must be held every five years in May. The rule, however, can be overruled if two-thirds of the parliamentary vote in favor of an earlier election.
May had been doing well in personal popularity polls, and she remains the choice in the latest polls by 50 percent of respondents to still be the British Prime Minister.