Prime Minister Theresa May has called for an early general election to be held on June 8 to seek a strong mandate as she negotiates Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Ms May said she needed to strengthen her hand in divorce talks with the European Union by shoring up support for her Brexit plan.
Standing outside 10 Downing Street, Ms May said she would ask the House of Commons on Wednesday to back her call for an election, three years before the next scheduled date in May 2020.
She said that since Britons voted to leave the EU in June the country had come together, but politicians had not and those divisions “risk [the UK’s] ability to make a success of Brexit”.
At present, Ms May’s governing Conservatives have 330 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons.
“Our opponents believe that because the Government’s majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course” she said.
“They are wrong. They underestimate our determination to get the job done and I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country.”
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.
A spokesperson for Ms May said the Prime Minister spoke to Queen Elizabeth II by phone on Monday, and that an early election would not affect the timetable for Brexit.