British Parliament backs PM's call for June general election over 'Brexit'
According to analysts, voters could give Europhile politicians a boost in Britain's upcoming election but the effect will be limited and the prospect of a grand alliance to soften Brexit is improbable.
It's official. Britain's members of parliament have overwhelmingly backed a surprise call by Prime Minister Theresa May for a general election on June 8. "That's what I believe in doing, that's what I'm going to be doing around this campaign".
They formed part of a coalition government in 2010, a majority in 2015 and are expected to return to power on June 8, which would hand May a new mandate for a series of reforms she wants to make and also a vote of confidence for her vision of a "hard" Brexit.
"Opinion polls have been saying that the conservatives have a huge lead over the Labour party, therefore you can view the prime minister's decision to go for a general election as a piece of cheap opportunism to get an easy victory over the Labour party".
"That would be in nobody's interest", May said. The current Parliament will dissolve on June 3.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who faced Mrs May when they were rival candidates at the 1992 general election in North West Durham, said: "The Prime Minister and I, back in 1992, debated publicly, forcibly and amicably when we were both candidates together". Its lawmakers abstained during Wednesday's vote.
In a sign of the key campaign issues ahead, Ms May traded barbs in the Commons with opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party is deeply divided and languishing up to 20 points behind the Conservatives.
Labour Scottish leader, Kezia Dugdale, was also in London meeting with United Kingdom party leader Jeremy Corbyn and attending the party's National Executive Committee.
Mrs May has argued a fresh mandate would strengthen her hand in Brexit talks and provide certainty for the future.
"What do we know that the leader of the Labour Party, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and the leader of the Scottish nationalists have in common?" she asked parliament.
The Liberal Democrats won a ninth seat in parliament in a by-election in Richmond in December.
Brexit Secretary David Davis and Chancellor Philip Hammond have been jointly pressing the PM to call an early vote for some time, and were informed of Mrs May's decision at a meeting on Monday.
"It's the right decision, it's in the national interest, and that's what this election is about".
"It is about the crisis her Government has plunged our National Health Service into, the cuts to our children's schools which will limit the chances of every child in Britain, four million of whom now live in poverty". "Because when we win, it's the people, not the powerful, who win", he will say.
Leaders of European Union states are due to adopt negotiating guidelines at an April 29 summit, and the bloc will prepare detailed plans for the talks with Britain by late May.
It had been hoped talks could start by the end of that month, but EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Wednesday that "the real political negotiations" with Britain would not start till after the June 8 election.
Critics of an early election accuse May of taking advantage of low ratings for the main opposition Labour Party.