UK Prime Minister calls for early election

Posted April 19, 2017

May returned from an Easter break in the Welsh mountains to announce that she would make a televised statement on an undisclosed subject early Tuesday outside 10 Downing St. Speculation swirled and the pound plunged against the dollar amid uncertainty about whether she planned to resign, call an election or even declare war. "It isn't going to happen".

"If the market is taking the view that it is better the devil you know and with the odds massively in Theresa May's favour that she will win this election, we could see the pound catch a bid as we lead up to June 8th, and our 1.30 forecast for GBP/USD doesn't seem that outlandish".

Analysts at ETX Capital say in a note to clients that the election call "adds another layer of complexity to an already uncertain picture for United Kingdom and European assets".

Polls give May's Conservatives a double-digit lead on Labour. During their debate, Miliband repeatedly accused the then prime minister of running scared.

The Tories' existing majority would have made it harder for the government to push through its Repeal Bill, which transfers European Union legislation into the statute book, without significant amendments.

After her predecessor narrowly lost a referendum gamble to keep Europe's second-ranked economy in the EU, Brussels once harboured hopes that Britain might have a change of heart under fellow Conservative May, who had favoured "Remain" over Brexit. Key policies from the Cameron era, including a commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national product on worldwide development, might also be changed. Some Britons questioned on social media whether they wanted to cast yet another ballot less than a year after the June referendum and two years after they voted in the last parliamentary poll. The Lib Dems, which had a disastrous 2015 election, could rebound in the south-west and in Remain-supporting areas.

Other Labour MPs have expressed despair about the party's prospects, with many expecting significant losses.

During her bid for the role she ruled out an early election, pledging there wouldn't be a general election before 2020.

What does Labour say about the early election?

As she acknowledged in her announcement, the Brexit process has caused confusion, and many people will want a simple and clear way through the minefield.

Leader Jeremy Corbyn has welcomed Mrs May's announcement. A Labour election defeat in 2017 might bring forward the replacement of Mr Corbyn with a more electable alternative, they argue. It will give the Scottish National Party, which grabbed dozens of seats from Labour in the 2015 national election, a new chance to reissue its call for Scottish independence. That motion, as set out by the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, will require a two-thirds majority of the House of Commons. If we do not hold a general election now their political game-playing will continue, and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most hard stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election.