April 18 (UPI) — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday called for an early general election on June 8, saying she sought a stronger mandate in Brexit talks.
After repeatedly ruling out a snap election, May’s reversal comes as she seeks more members of Parliament who are supportive of her leadership as the country moves to leave the European Union. Negotiations are underway for Britain’s exit, approved in a 2016 referendum of British voters.
Speaking in front of her Downing Street office in London, she said Britain required more stability and stronger leadership, and the election is meant to strengthen her bargaining position. Her Conservative Party holds a slim majority in the House of Commons, and a quick election would likely increase her party’s representation, the BBC reported.
“The country is coming together, but Westminster [Parliament] is not,’ May said.
“So we need a general election and we need one now. We have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin. I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion. Since I became prime minister I’ve said there should be no election until 2020, but now I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and security for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions we must take.”
Parliament members will convene to vote on whether to dissolve the legislature and hold new elections. A two-thirds majority is required, and opposition parties said they would not block May’s plan.