May’s move about weak opposition, containing more zealous Brexiteers

EDITORIAL

British Prime Minister Theresa May has caused a major surprise with her decision to call a snap election with a short lead-in time of eight weeks to June 8, as she seeks to cement her government’s position before Brexit negotiations really get under way. Previously she had played down the possibility of an early election, and no poll was due until 2020.

UK commentators say the relentless political logic of an early election, that the Conservatives are expected to win well, has proved too tempting.

Standing in Downing Street before a packed press gallery, May said Britain needed stability and strong leadership at this time. “The country is together, Westminster is not,” she said.

She rightly says the country needs a positive response for the Brexit negotiations, repeating that the decision to leave Europe is irreversible. It is actually the “hard” Brexiteers in her own party that are the greatest threat to a successful outcome, with demands that just won’t wash with the 27 European Union countries across the negotiating table.

Certainly it would help May tremendously if she could go into the negotiations with her own democratic mandate.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has welcomed the election and says all Labour MPs will face a ballot to earn their seats. Somewhat unkindly, some papers are saying May called the election because she feared the controversial Corbyn was about to resign and she would face a stronger Opposition leader.

It is no surprise that Scottish nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon, who wants another referendum on independence, says someone has to speak up for Scotland. She continues to oppose Brexit.

If May can contain the more zealous anti-EU urges within her party and reach a better compromise deal with the European Union, she will actually have a greater chance of holding the United Kingdom together as well.

Calling a snap election is a risk, as Robert Muldoon found in 1984. It is a two-edged sword and the stakes are high but May has shown she is prepared to be bold and decisive.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has caused a major surprise with her decision to call a snap election with a short lead-in time of eight weeks to June 8, as she seeks to cement her government’s position before Brexit negotiations really get under way. Previously she had played down the possibility of an early election, and no poll was due until 2020.

UK commentators say the relentless political logic of an early election, that the Conservatives are expected to win well, has proved too tempting.

Standing in Downing Street before a packed press gallery, May said Britain needed stability and strong leadership at this time. “The country is together, Westminster is not,” she said.

She rightly says the country needs a positive response for the Brexit negotiations, repeating that the decision to leave Europe is irreversible. It is actually the “hard” Brexiteers in her own party that are the greatest threat to a successful outcome, with demands that just won’t wash with the 27 European Union countries across the negotiating table.

Certainly it would help May tremendously if she could go into the negotiations with her own democratic mandate.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has welcomed the election and says all Labour MPs will face a ballot to earn their seats. Somewhat unkindly, some papers are saying May called the election because she feared the controversial Corbyn was about to resign and she would face a stronger Opposition leader.

It is no surprise that Scottish nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon, who wants another referendum on independence, says someone has to speak up for Scotland. She continues to oppose Brexit.

If May can contain the more zealous anti-EU urges within her party and reach a better compromise deal with the European Union, she will actually have a greater chance of holding the United Kingdom together as well.

Calling a snap election is a risk, as Robert Muldoon found in 1984. It is a two-edged sword and the stakes are high but May has shown she is prepared to be bold and decisive.

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