Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May will likely win the parliamentary vote tomorrow that will allow her to call a General Election on June 8th this year. This means a vote is just 50 days away — less time than a usual election cycle in the United Kingdom.
May is riding the crest of a wave right now. The Conservative Party is incredibly popular. In part due to the feckless socialist leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn; the struggle of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) to find a post-Brexit raison-d’etre; and Mrs. May’s handling of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU).
“Brexit means Brexit,” has been her mantra for the past few months, before she formally invoked the Article 50 mechanism by which an EU member state leaves on March 29th.
But she also inherited a manifesto from her predecessor David Cameron that she appears not to be fully signed up to. She and her government ran into the first signs on trouble emanating from this during the Budget earlier this year. Chancellor Philip Hammond was forced into an embarrassing U-turn over the issue of a tax hike — the latest in a series of policy overhang issues that has hamstrung the May government.
She will want to use this General Election to establish a personal and political mandate: allowing her to break from the Cameron government’s pledges, while kicking the Labour Party into touch for the next five years.
What this means for the Brexit process however, is concerning some.
Mrs. May was not on the Leave side at the referendum in 2016. In fact, she was a Remainer, albeit a relatively silent one through the campaign period.
Steven Woolfe, a Member of the European Parliament who sits as an independent, formerly of UKIP, told Breitbart London: “[May] wants to make this her Brexit. The election will make it her win. Therefore one of the possibilities is that those deemed hard Brexiteers will not be regarded as having the power and the mandate anymore. Therefore she can control the Brexit negotiations.
“Whether she will make that a soft or hard Brexit I don’t know but she’ll say I’m in charge and go her way”.
An EU-based source added: “Europe believes if she wins there will be a softer Brexit”.
“The European Union — if you listen to what’s coming out of the spokesman from the EU, they’ve said this is a good day for Britain and negotiations will become much easier from their perspective”.
What’s clear is that while a General Election will stabilise Mrs. May’s position, it does start to raise questions over her commitment to the “Brexit means Brexit” claim.
Other implications stretch north to Scotland, whereby the Scottish National Party (SNP), who won a vast majority of seats in 2015 will be seen to have failed if they don’t hang onto the same number in the country.
The SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is intent on hold another referendum on Scottish independence, but her involvement in this election will perhaps make this vote itself a UK-wide referendum on the matter, especially if her vote share and number of Westminster seats declines. In Scotland, the Labour Party are monumentally unpopular, though the Conservative Party under the stewardship of Scottish leader Ruth Davidson has managed to make polling inroads into being an opposition party in the country.
Generally speaking, this election currently looks like a win-win for Mrs. May.
What it means for Brexit however, we will all need to be incredibly wary of.