Prime Minister Theresa May today gave journalists one hours notice for a surprise statement outside No.10 Downing Street. Speculation and social media went into meltdown about the reason for this; military action? a resignation? ill health?
However, speaking at a podium, and without the Prime Ministerial seal, Mrs May announced she would be seeking a General Election on 8th June.
The Fixed-Term Parliament Act 2011 means the Prime Minister needs a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons.
Thirty minutes later Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said he welcomed the move and would support the vote in the Commons.
PM May had ruled out a snap-election after taking up her post but said she had changed her mind as it was the only way to guarantee certainty and stability. May said she may have been reluctant but now has strong conviction that it's the right thing to do.
May put a challenge to opposition parties to show that they were not opposing government for the sake of it and they do not treat politics as a game. She said they should all put forward their programmes for government and Brexit and let the people decide. In Mrs May's opinion, the election would "all be about leadership."
Why an election?
- To stop the 'game playing' by opposition parties
- The government has the 'right plan' to lead negotiations but needs a mandate
- To provide unity in Westminster - currently divided. Labour threatened to vote against the agreement and unelected House of Lords will fight every step of the way
- They think a small majority will make her change course but she is not prepared to endanger negotiations and to prepare for Brexit at home
- We need a General Election now as a one-off chance to get this done whilst EU agrees negotiating position
- Every vote for the Conservatives will strengthen her negotiating position
- To remove the risk of uncertainty and instability