Breaking with her previous statements about not calling a general election before 2020, Prime Minister Theresa May, yesterday announced that she wants a general election to be held on 8th June.
In a statement, the Prime Minister stated that when she came to power in July, 2016, the country was in need of a stable and secure hand, to deliver the results of the referendum. She believes that she has delivers that, and now she feels that in order to properly deliver the fully Brexit package, she must secure a mandate for herself and the Conservative Party.
By calling a general election, Theresa May hopes to prevent the squabbling and nit picking that Labour and the Liberal Democrats had promised to deliver, had Parliament sat until 2020. With the Conservatives polling 21 percentage points ahead of Labour in the most recent opinion polls, the Prime Minister is no doubt confident that she can win a sizeable majority and strengthen her hand, when it comes to achieving her key policy proposals.
However, despite calling for a General Election, Theresa May is not guaranteed to get one. By order of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act of 2011, in order to dissolve Parliament and have a general election, the Prime Minister would need to get a two thirds majority of votes in favour of a new election.
There are those who think it would be within Labour and the Liberal Democrats interest to prevent the passage of the vote, as they believe that seizing on the potential chaos of the actual Brexit negotiations, could add to Labour and the Liberal Democrats appeal in 2020.
However, both Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron, leaders of Labour and the Liberal Democrats respectively, have stated that they will support the call for the dissolution of Parliament and the calling of a new election for 8th June.
At the time of writing, it has been confirmed that Parliament will be formally dissolved on 3rd May, and that the deadline for parties to recommend their candidates is a week later. Deadlines for registering to vote will be 22nd May.
With this move, Theresa May has guaranteed that things in Britain are to be even more heated for the next few weeks and perhaps for the weeks after the election as well as leading up to it. A potentially smart move, or one that could damn her and her party. Only time will tell.
By Vivek Rajkhowa