« La Grande Bretagne quitte l’Union Européenne et il n’y a pas de possibilité de retour en arrière; en ce moment qui a une signification énorme pour le pays, il devrait y avoir unité, or au contraire nous sommes divisés. » a déclaré May.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May will today move a motion calling for a general election, to be held on 8 June. The motion will require a two-thirds majority of the House of Commons under the Fixed Term Parliament Act. Speaking on the steps of Downing Street May reiterated that, “Britain is leaving the EU and there can be no turning back and at this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division.”
Explaining her decision May argued, “Our opponents believe that because the Government’s majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course. They are wrong…If we do not hold a general election now their political game-playing will continue, and the negotiations with the EU will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election…we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the EU agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the decision “a huge political miscalculation” and accused May of “putting the interests of her party ahead of those of the country.” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron welcomed the decision, suggesting they would vote for the motion.
A snap poll published yesterday by ICM for the Guardian found that 55% of respondents backed May’s decision to call an early general election, against 15% who opposed it and 30% who didn’t know.
Elsewhere, former Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday called on voters to back candidates who would “hold the government properly to account in the interests of the country. This should cross party lines.” He added that he was “not urging tactical voting or some anti Tory alliance,” but called on voters to “elect as many MPs as possible with an open mind on this issue who are prepared to vote according to the quality of the deal and the interests of the British people.”
Meanwhile, following May’s announcement the Sterling reached its highest level of the year at $1.253. In his address to the Commons, Chancellor Philip Hammond welcomed the development noting that “[May’s] statement this morning has sent sterling up in the markets, demonstrating the confidence that the markets have in a future, for this country, under a Tory government with a new mandate.” At the same time, the pound’s surge has caused the FTSE 100 to lose over 180 points, marking its steepest daily fall since the Brexit vote last June.
Source: Press Association , The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Financial Times, ICM Unlimited: Guardian poll 18 April, The Daily Telegraph