April 23, 2017

British parliament backs PM Theresa May's plan for June 8 snap election

21 April 2017, 03:19 | Darnell Patrick

"It's about providing the strong and stable leadership this country needs to take Britain through Brexit and beyond, it's about strengthening our hand in the negotiations that lie ahead, and it's about sticking to our plan for a stronger Britain that will enable us to secure that more stable and secure future for this country and take the right long-term decisions for the future". A two-thirds majority of MPs must agree to a move that will shorten the lifespan of a parliament.

And he told MPs: "We welcome the opportunity of a general election because it gives the British people the chance to vote for a Labour government that will put the interests of the majority first".

Mrs May said she would not take part in any televised leaders' debates, leading to criticism from Mr Corbyn and other party leaders she was "running scared".

MPs, the PM said, have a window of opportunity to hold a general election before negotiations with the European Union begin.

She said a general election will provide Britain with five years of strong and stable leadership to see the country through its negotiations with the European Union to make sure "we are able to make a success of the European Union referendum result".

Britain voted to leave the European Union last June and May formally triggered Article 50, the EU's divorce clause, on March 29, beginning what are set to be at least two years of hard negotiations before Britain finally leaves.

The Labour leader will acknowledge that "much of the media and the establishment" already believe his party can not win the election, but will pledge not to "play by the rules" and "change the direction" of the polls.

Critics of an early election accuse May of taking advantage of low ratings for the main opposition Labour Party.

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Jeremy Corbyn will promise that a Labour government will "put the interests of the majority first" and oppose the "cosy cartel" running the United Kingdom as the left-wing leader delivers his first major speech of the general election campaign on Thursday (20 April).

EU Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and the bloc's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, will hold talks with May in London next Wednesday, commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told reporters Thursday.

By contrast Labour is wracked by divisions, over Brexit and Corbyn's left-wing leadership, which is opposed by many of his more centrist MPs.

Britain will go to the polls on June 8, after MPs cleared the way for an early general election. "The country is together, Westminster is not", she said. "They are wrong", she said.

Barnier is expected to get a formal mandate to begin talks on May 22 although they are not now expected to begin in earnest until after the British election.

"This election is about her government's failure to rebuild the economy and living standards for the majority", he said.

It will also be the Brexit election, meant to consolidate the decision taken at the referendum and ensure there is no backsliding.

But if May can withstand the public scorn, she doesn't have much incentive to show up for a debate - her party's already the heavy favorite to carry the election. "The election will be dominated by Brexit, and the Labour Party will have to finally clarify its position".

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