The UK was in shock momentarily when Theresa May, the British Conservative Prime Minister, announced a snap general election to take place on June 8th this year.
For the last six months she had categorically ruled out another election, but she changed her mind in a dramatic fashion.
It could turn out to be a political master stroke, so far the markets have reacted well with the £ being at a six-month high against the $.
Recently her government has been frustrated, by their small majority, in its attempts to progress the Brexit bill through Parliament. There is also conflict within the conservative party, with pressure from the minority who want an uncompromisingly hard Brexit.
Mrs May is in an incredibly strong position; her personal approval rating is at an all-time high for a sitting Prime Minister, the conservative party leads in the polls, and, the opposition parties are in disarray.
The polls predict the conservatives will gain a 100 seat majority. This mandate will give Mrs May a stronger negotiating position with the EU. The benefits of this include a better chance of getting concessions on Free Trade and the Free movement of people within the EU. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, likened the announcement to a Hitchcock suspense thriller calling it “a trick”. He and his EU counterparts know that with a stronger UK Government in power they are in a relatively weaker position. Combine this with the upcoming French election, and a possible Le Pen victory, the EU must be prepared for even greater change on the horizon.
However, it may not be all plain sailing for Mrs May, just remember the shock result of last year’s EU referendum in the UK. The polls failed irrevocably to predict the implausible leave vote. This time the other UK political parties are likely to focus the election on the emotions of the referendum result. It is probable that they will pander to the voting population that believed the UK should remain, including those who may regret their decision to vote leave.
In short yesterday’s announcement could be good news for EU countries that trade with the UK as well as the UK itself. However, in the current world political landscape, we’ve become accustomed to unlikely victories and unprecedented outcomes. Although as it stands today, there is a high likelihood that the general election will play out in Theresa May’s favour, one thing is for sure; anything could happen!
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