Theresa May Wikimedia Commons
Theresa May today performed a U-turn that shocked the nation, calling for a snap General Election on June 8. She had previously ruled out going to the polls before 2020.
It is quite clear that PM May wants a clearer majority to defeat opposition both within and without her own party. In announcements today, the PM called the elected opposition in parliament ‘anti-democratic’ for fulfilling their democratic duty as opposition. Yet her hope is for a clearer mandate to reduce compromise, bringing her closer to the royal prerogative she wanted to trigger Article 50. She does indeed have the power to call this snap election, at convenient timing, thanks to inheriting leadership with no manifesto or real mandate for her current government. Is this really about democracy?
More likely, May has spotted an opportunity. The Tories are storming ahead in the polls and a big victory could weaken Labour while providing her with a greater cushion to absorb potential backbench rebellion. Opposition parties must rely on the hope that opinion polls retain their 2016 tendency to be inaccurate. Labour will be banking on a Brexit and Trump-style shredding of the polls. In this chaotic climate, it’s more than possible.
Theresa May will be aware of this, and will be trusting in Labour’s recent turmoil to guarantee her landslide. However, although yesterday seemed they would continue in-fighting for years, the PM has handed them a solid reason to pull together. If taken, this opportunity could return the party from being its own worst enemy, and take the Tories by surprise. However, this common sense has eluded some lately.
The Liberal Democrats are worth a mention for gaining ground in Richmond, and having a clear anti-Brexit position. There are several Conservative seats that voted Remain where the Lib Dems come close-second.