Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Prime minister asks for backing for early vote


The pair sparred just a day after the Prime Minister announced plans to hold a general election on 8 June.

The European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May over the phone on Tuesday evening on the subject.

"Following their conversation, the president considers that the real political negotiations on Article 50 with the United Kingdom will start after the elections foreseen for the 8th of June", the spokesman said, referring to the European Union treaty rule that regulates the exit of a member state from the bloc.

The British parliament is due to vote Wednesday on the call.

Ms Miller said she wants this campaign to be the biggest tactical voting effort in United Kingdom history, adding: "The election will be more important for the future of Britain than any in living memory; how people decide to vote is vital".

May, under the Fixed-Terms Parliaments Act, needed a two-thirds House of Commons' majority (434 MPs) in order for a snap election to take place.

The Commission will not interfere with the possible British elections because they are "a domestic issue", the spokesman said.

They said ministers from those member states are then scheduled to meet on May 22 to formally issue detailed directives for the negotiations to be led by Michel Barnier, who previously held high-level French government positions.

"What do we know that the leader of the Labour Party, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and the leader of the Scottish nationalists have in common?" she asked parliament.

Farron, who stood for the North West Durham seat in the 1992 election alongside May - she came second, he came third - reminded her that at the time she had criticised the Labour incumbent for skipping public debates.

May told The Sun newspaper that if Britain were still negotiating with the bloc in the run-up to a national election, "the Europeans might have seen that as a time of weakness when they could push us".

Parliament will vote Wednesday on holding a June 8 election. "It's about. getting the right deal from Europe", she said. Elections are now set for 2020, just a year after the scheduled completion of Brexit talks. There were indications people would vote more according to their support or opposition to Brexit, than on party lines.

May, of course, would not, and the ongoing question mark hanging over many Tories makes this general election seem all the more opportunistic and tawdry.

The British pound's surge since Prime Minister Theresa May's surprise election call represents an early sign of optimism that the country's exit from the European Union may be smoother than many had feared.

May's was targeted on her u-turn on going to the polls - after repeatedly saying, as recently as last month, that she wouldn't call a vote - which was pointed out by Corbyn in his opening remarks.

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