The last few years have seen a general election, an EU referendum, Labour and UKIP have both had two leadership elections, the latter having 3 different leaders; Diane James (who has now quit the party), Paul Nuttall (current leader) and Nigel Farage (leader until after 2015 general election and interim leader in-between James and Nuttall). The Green party have the first joint leadership in a major UK political party. But on 18th April, Theresa May has called for a general election.
The day after on 19th April, Theresa May presented the vote to parliament to officially call an early general election, under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 the vote required a two-thirds majority. Parliament duly delivered with 522 Ayes and 13 Noes.
The surprise of the announcement came after months of May stating that she didn’t think it was necessary to hold a general election, and that the 52-48 EU referendum split was enough of a mandate to carry out her version of Brexit. Meaning speculation was rife as to why so soon after Article 50 Theresa May carried out a U-turn on this stance? With allegations of electoral fraud hanging over them and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour performing badly in the opinion polls, this is perhaps seen an opportunity to wash over those and increase her majority in parliament.
During the speech, she stated it was on a walking holiday with her husband that she had the moment of clarity. May stated that opposition within parliament to Brexit and ‘holding up the process’ by others has the main reasons because if she wins with a clear mandate, then she assumes that the power is hers to wield. But the opposition within parliament is to ensure accountability that the government are seeking the best deal for the public, as is their job, and make sure that the democratic processes of parliament are duly followed.
May has ruled out TV debates however, ITV have already confirmed that they will hold a leader’s debate with the BBC likely to follow suit. She claimed that it clogged up the schedule and would rather ‘get out and about amongst voters’. However, what better way is there to announce policy on a live TV debate to millions of voters at the same time? Whether she will choose to accept the inevitable invitation remains to be seen but refusal will have a detrimental effect on her campaign, she has since agreed to a one-on-one Question Time style Q&A with an audience prompting further questions over why she is against a TV debate?
Reasons for the U-turn?
The election comes at a time when the Electoral Commission is investigating the Conservatives for election fraud in 21 different constituencies. There is suspicion that she is trying to bypass any potential convictions but it could also prove fatal. If the necessary authorities chose to prosecute close to the election, that individual wouldn’t be able to pull out due to time constraints and would have to continue to campaign and stand with that black cloud.
But ultimately Theresa May wants nothing more than her place in history, she has no will or care to improve the country or create a long-term sustainable infrastructure for generations to come. May only wants to stand on the shoulders of other leaders and say, “I was the leader who took the historic step in triggering Article 50 and removed Britain from the EU.” For better or for worse. She has shown little interest in long-term sustainability and creating a fairer society.
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