Theresa May seeks Parliament's approval for snap election

Posted April 20, 2017

The Prime Minister received a boost on Wednesday ahead of exit negotiations and for an election she is seeking to cast as a vote on Brexit, with US House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan saying America stands ready to strike a free trade deal with the United Kingdom as soon as possible.

Analysis of polling data conducted by the Times newspaper showed May could win a landslide majority of 114 seats, up from the Conservatives' 12-seat victory in 2015.

"That's what I have always believed in, it's what I still believe and I still do it - as Prime Minister, as a constituency MP, I still go out and knock on doors in my constituency".

Ms. May acknowledged the need for an explanation of this change of heart, saying she had only recently and reluctantly recognised the need for an election to take place before 2020, pegging it on the need to secure unity in Parliament as the country prepared to launch headlong into full-fledged negotiations with its European partners on exiting the union, as well as resetting its relationship with the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, British Beer and Pub Association's chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "The debate around Brexit will be centre-stage, and we will be highlighting the key issues facing the sector".

Earlier, Mr Corbyn dismissed Mrs May's argument that she needs a fresh mandate to deliver Brexit, and said it was "extremely interesting" that she had chosen to call an election as the Crown Prosecution Service prepares to decide whether to press charges against a string of Tory MPs over allegations relating to 2015 general election expenses.

Corbyn wasn't focused on Brexit.

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".

The prime minister urged voters to give her "the mandate to speak for Britain and to deliver for Britain".

Corbyn later ruled out any post-election coalition with the Scottish National Party.

The gap before talks begin in earnest in June gave her a "window of opportunity" to strengthen her hand by improving her slim 17-seat majority and pushing the next election date back to 2022, by which time the United Kingdom should have long ago left the EU.

But she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We won't be doing television debates".

Since taking over as Prime Minister a year ago, Ms.

Her predecessor David Cameron agreed to be questioned in front of a BBC Question Time-style audience for live television programmes during the 2015 general election.

Piers Corbyn accused the corporation of a series of cover ups to protect the establishment - that included making attacks on his brother - but insisted Labour could still win a "reasonable" majority.

While a third or so of Conservative voters voted against leaving, they are considered likely to back May, given the alternatives, especially as she has hinted lately that a transitional deal with Brussels would probably involve some compromises in the national interest. May's decision for earlier elections could help push plans in Scotland to hold another referendum on independence in a bid to remain in the EU.

According to the Times she will offer a "regulatory compromise" in how the number of overseas students in the United Kingdom is calculated so she can get the Higher Education and Research Bill through the Commons before the election, amid the threat of a backbench rebellion on the issue.

Stephen Castle and Sewell Chan contributed reporting.