United Kingdom to hold snap general election on June 8

Cheryl Sanders
April 20, 2017

May's call for an early election gives Britain's weak and fractious opposition just seven weeks to prepare for a vote that had not been due for three more years.

The prime minister's own personal ratings also dwarf those of Corbyn, with 50 per cent of those asked saying she would make the best prime minister.

Alex Massie in The Spectator believes the general election will first and foremost be a vote on Scottish independence, saying "May can not win a mandate for herself while then denying a mandate to the party that wins the Scottish portion of this election".

Corbyn said years of Conservative austerity had led to falling living standards and called May "a prime minister who can't be trusted".

The Sun, Britain's top-selling newspaper, splashed the headline "Blue Murder" - a reference to the Conservatives' party colour and the prospect of Labour losing dozens of seats.

For Scotland's First Minister, Ms Nicola Sturgeon, the move was a "huge political miscalculation" that could help the Scottish National Party's (SNP's) efforts to hold an independence vote, reported Reuters.

"Fortuitously for them, they find themselves in a position of being the only party that is making the anti-Brexit case", said Rob Ford, political science professor at the University of Manchester.

Leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn was among those calling for a debate. Her plan comes as the main opposition Labour Party faces record lows in approval ratings.

"That is what this is about", she said.

He added: "She could also become more unbending; we don't know".

"The Prime Minister and I, back in 1992, debated publicly, forcibly and amicably when we were both candidates together".

May has repeatedly said since becoming the Prime Minister in July that she would not hold an early general election.

Although Parliament will not be officially dissolved until early May, campaigning is already under way - with Lib Dem leader Tim Farron addressing a rally of activists in south-west London earlier on Wednesday. "I am asking them to put their trust in me and if they do that, if they give me a mandate for these negotiations for the plan for Brexit that the Government has, the plan for a stronger Britain beyond Brexit that we have, then I think that will strengthen our hand", 61-year-old May said.

The gap before talks begin in earnest in June gave her a "window of opportunity" to strengthen her hand by improving her slim 17-seat majority and pushing the next election date back to 2022, by which time the United Kingdom should have long ago left the EU. "It's about ... getting the right deal from Europe".

Broadcaster ITV says it will hold a live election debate ahead of the general election despite Theresa May's refusal to go head-to-head with Jeremy Corbyn.

Steve Hedley, senior assistant general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union (RMT) in Britain, told Radio Sputnik's Brian Becker he doesn't believe that the decision has a lot to do with Brexit.

The Scottish National Party's leader in the Westminster parliament, Angus Robertson, said: "For months we have heard from her that now is not the time for the public to vote, that no one wants it, that it is important to get on with the day job, that nothing should get on the way. They are wrong", she said.

And Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood - whose profile received a major boost from her involvement in two of the 2015 broadcasts - said: "Theresa May should be empty chaired if she doesn't show up to any planned TV debates".

Other reports by iNewsToday