Politics & Policy

The Corner

British Prime Minister Calls Snap Election

In June, the British will go to the polls for the fourth time in four years:

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to call a snap general election on 8 June.

She said Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership following the EU referendum.

Explaining the decision, Mrs May said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not.”

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said his Labour Party wanted the election, calling it a chance to get a government that puts “the majority first”.

The last general election was in 2015. Had she so wished, May could have waited until 2020 before calling another. Clearly, though, she feels that she needs a renewed mandate for her party after the contentious Brexit vote — and, perhaps, a mandate for herself as PM (she came into power asbsent an election after David Cameron resigned).

Unless the polls are absolutely disastrously wrong, the risks are pretty low for May. Per the BBC, the Conservatives are storming the polls:

In taking this course, the prime minister is following the advice of William Hague, a former leader of her party who recently advised the Tories to press their advantage:

Theresa May should scrap fixed-term parliaments and call an early general election, the former Tory leader Lord Hague says today, as a poll showed support for Jeremy Corbyn collapsing among Labour Party members.

Lord Hague warns that “trouble is coming” over the next two years as the Government tries to implement Brexit, and says the Prime Minister needs a bigger Commons majority to force through change.

The next general election is due to take place in May 2020, but Lord Hague argues in the Daily Telegraph that if the Fixed Term Parliaments Act did not exist, the case for an election this spring would have been “very strong indeed”.

The Fixed Term Parliaments Act should, indeed, be abolished, as it makes a mockery of the British parliamentary system. But it doesn’t have to be, and it won’t have to be. The PM needs two-thirds of MPs to agree to her plans, and the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has already signaled his willingness to acquiesce. One wonders when, if ever, the British will develop election fatigue.

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