13:33 GMT20 January 2021
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    UK Prime Minister Theresa May has triggered a snap general election in the face of a huge lead in the opinion polls to gain a mandate — with an increased majority — ahead of the Brexit negotiations, giving herself the chance of a stronger hand in Brussels and a powerful lead in the UK parliament.

    May's announcement comes in the wake of the latest YouGov poll for the London Times newspaper showing her Conservatives have a huge lead with 44 percent, well ahead of Labour on 23 percent, the Liberal Democrats on 12 percent and UKIP on 10 percent. 

    She told reporters: "Britain is leaving the EU and there can be no turning back". She said she wanted a "strong and successful EU and a UK that is free to chart its way in the world." 

    Her decision — against her initial opinion — to call a snap election, June 8, goes against the Fixed Term Parliamentary Act, which stipulates that parliaments must run for five years. She will need a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons, which she is likely to get. 

    She said that following the In-Out referendum on Britain's membership of the EU, which resulted in the UK leaving the EU — she wanted a strong mandate from parliament to give her more authority in negotiating with Brussels. 

    She has picked a good time for an election with the main opposition party — Labour — embroiled in major disputes — largely over its leader Jeremy Corbyn, who does not have the support of many of his own MPs. 

    Nearly 26,000 members of the British Labour party have resigned since the summer, according to leaked data, with thousands leaving following the decision by party leader Jeremy Corbyn to demand all his MPs back the Brexit bill, taking Britain out of the EU. 

    Corbyn had been heavily criticized for having been a long-time euroskeptic who led a lackluster campaign for Britain to remain in the EU — in the run-up to the referendum, June 23, 2016 — as it was official Labour Party policy to remain in the union. 

    However, Labour is split over the issue, with many pro-EU MPs representing constituencies where the majority voted to leave the EU. Meanwhile, many young Labour supporters — who voted to remain — have deserted the party because of Corbyn's poor performance in the run-up to the referendum. 

    Theresa May — who is known as the 'Ice Woman' because of her famously distant, seemingly cold nature — has now taken the moment to go back to the country and gain a mandate for her version of Brexit. 

    In doing so, she is calling the bluff on Labour, but also gaining a mandate — likely with an increased majority — to silence the opposition to Brexit from the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party (SNP), which has threatened to oppose her in the Brussels negotiations. 

    If — as expected — she wins a landslide election, she will be able to silence those who have threatened to water down her version of a 'Hard Brexit.' It would be very difficult for opposition parties to oppose her in the wake of the In-Our referendum — which voted out of the EU — as well as her increased majority in the Commons. 

    Theresa May has shown that she is tough and prepared to go back to the country and seek a mandate for her version of Brexit. It will also send a strong message to Brussels that she can talk tough and is no pushover when it comes to playing politics.


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    snap election, Downing Street, general election, Brexit, politics, UK Parliament, Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May, United Kingdom, London
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