Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that a general election will be called on the 8 June in an attempt to unite Westminster behind her.
May claims that an election is now needed because her Brexit plans have been met resistance by the other parties, Labour has threatened to vote against the final deal, the Lib Dems want parliamentary business to grind to a halt, the SNP opposes the plans and the peers have said that they will oppose the Government in every way possible. May has said that she will not let her opponents jeopardise her Brexit plans.
May claims to be challenging the opposition parties to accept an early election, allowing the people to decide. She says it is with reluctance that she called an election, but with determination that she will fight for leadership.
The move is contrary to her pledge when she came to office that explicitly ruled out an early election. As recently as last month Downing Street confirmed that an election was “not going to happen”.
There was speculation on social media as to why a lectern had been placed outside 10 Downing Street that did not feature a Government insignia, the last time this happened was when David Cameron called a general election in March 2015. Twitter users claimed it was either the calling of a snap election or that the PM was resigning over poor health.
Triggered by news that that the PM was about to make a major announcement, the pound “plunged like a stone”, ETX Capital’s Neil Wilson told The Guardian.
A snap election, he said, “would throw a cluster grenade of political risk, uncertainty and potential volatility in the markets. At the extreme this could even spark a reversal in the entire Brexit process. The Tories have a thumping majority in the polls at the moment so the PM may just be gambling on significantly boosting her rather slender majority in Parliament.”
The pound has since surged to its highest level in two months, a sign that the City welcomes the news. Thoughts are that the election will win May a greater majority in Parliament, strengthening her hand in the Brexit negotiations.