Theresa May Will Have Her Way: British Parliament Votes to Allow June 8 Election (Update)
Posted on Apr 19, 2017
Update Wednesday, 7:08 a.m. PDT: Theresa May will have her way, it seems, after the U.K. parliamentarians voted Wednesday to approve her call for a snap election on June 8. The final count was 522 in favor and 13 against, with several members of Parliament choosing to abstain. A two-thirds majority is required to call an election under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act—a requirement the House of Commons surpassed by a significant number of votes. Watch the debate in Westminster, London, below:
Meanwhile, here’s a bit more information about why May may have chosen to call an election now, according to The Intercept’s Robert Mackey:
The British prime minister shocked one and all with a surprise announcement Tuesday. Calling for a general election on June 8, the Tory leader declared she’d been shoved between a rock and a hard Brexit by opposition parties and the House of Lords as she attempts to negotiate the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corp., “Under Britain’s Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, elections are held every five years, but the prime minister can call a snap election if two-thirds of lawmakers vote for it.”
The Independent outlines what the election will mean for the EU exit negotiations:
Working off her predecessor David Cameron’s slimly won majority, May had been reluctant to call for an election when Cameron stepped down in June after the unexpected results of the EU referendum threw the country, and the Conservative Party, into turmoil. Now, restating her reluctance, May appeared before her extremely divided nation to announce her intention to put a motion forward before Parliament on Wednesday and trigger a new contest before the next scheduled election in 2020.
Journalist Matthew D’Ancona writes about the reasons behind May’s decision:
Polls indicate Tories have a 21 percent lead over other parties, including Labour, led by progressive Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn says he welcomes the election, as it will give Britons an opportunity to choose a new path forward. Presumably he’s hoping that path is the one outlined by Labour in the past few months. The party has been working to clearly delineate its policy positions on everything from Brexit to the National Health Services. Due to discouraging polls, many on the left believe their best bet is a Labour coalition with Liberal Democrats, a party that will campaign on a soft or no Brexit platform in the upcoming election in hopes of taking seats from Tories by appealing to Conservative voters who wanted to remain in the EU.
On the subject of a progressive path forward, journalist Zoe Williams writes:
As far as Scotland goes, here’s what Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had to say:
Politicians in all parties now have less than two months to convince British voters that their platforms represent the best-case scenario going forward in an unstable global political climate.
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi.
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