Theresa May calls general election in bid for total control of Brexit
Theresa May wants total control of Brexit and a general election on 8 June means the people still won’t know what the Brexit terms will be.
Theresa May announced this morning that she will seek a general election on 8 June. Here’s a clip of her announcement from BBC News.
PM: “I want to explain the reasons for that decision, what will happen next and the choice facing the British people when you come to vote” pic.twitter.com/Z0H9F9by9a
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) 18 April 2017
It’s quite the u-turn from the prime minister who had insisted up until just after 11am today that she would not call a general election until 2020. In her announcement, she blamed opposition by Labour, the Lib Dems, SNP and the House of Lords to the government’s Brexit plans.
As quoted in the Guardian’s live political blog, she said “our opponents believe that because the government’s majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course”.
The country is coming together, but Westminster is not.
In recent weeks Labour has threatened to vote against the deal we reach with the European Union.
The Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill.
The Scottish National Party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain’s membership of the European Union.
And unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way.
Our opponents believe that because the government’s majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course.
Theresa May, prime minister
It’s clear from her statement that this is not just a general election about Brexit but also a general election with Theresa May bidding for total control. She clearly does not like opposition. Someone should remind her this isn’t North Korea.
Brexit is still unclear. Will this election be fought any better?
Holding one on 8 June also means that the terms of Brexit will still be unclear. When Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said she wanted to hold a second Independence referendum, Theresa May said that it wasn’t fair to ask the people of Scotland to make such a crucial decision when “all the facts” were not known. And yet, we still don’t know “all the facts”. Formal negotiations will barely have even started. But a general election on 8 June makes sense for the Tories who hope to increase their majority without offering much more on their Brexit plans. So far, their “plan” is to build “a deep and special partnership” whilst also getting “control of our money, our own laws and our own borders”.
Since invoking Article 50 on 29 March, there were signs the government had started to soften its stance on Brexit. The government has acknowledged that immigration is unlikely to go down soon and that Britain would lose influence over EU policies that it would have to comply with if it wanted to continue trading with the bloc. The government’s position was starting to be confronted by hard reality. However, May’s announcement this morning seems to have reverted back to the idea of having our cake and eating it. And it’s likely that is exactly how the Conservative party will fight the general election.
For this election to be fought any better than the referendum, the people need more information than the government has been willing to give so far on Brexit. I doubt they will want to so we have to keep demanding it.
In the end, the lectern had it.
There was huge speculation following the announcement of an unexpected announcement by the prime minister. As well as the possibility of a snap general election, the suggestions of what the announcement could be about from political commentators and journalists included Theresa May’s resignation, the Queen’s abdication and war with North Korea. As journalists gathered outside 10 Downing Street and the lectern was brought out, the government seal’s absence on the lectern was noted with Tweets suggesting a general election was likely. Turns out they were right!
No Government/No10 seal on the lectern….political nature then…looking more like a General Election pic.twitter.com/BYjOxfkrUx
— Rhys Goode (@rhys_goode) 18 April 2017