Every time there is a comparison drawn between British Prime Minister Theresa May and a former woman premier ‘Iron lady’ Margaret Thatcher it ends up in the argument that the former is an unelected incumbent while Thatcher had been through the rough and tumble of elections and competitive politics. By announcing a snap poll for June 8, Theresa May will, among other things, get over that handicap if she wins, as is widely expected.
With lawmakers having voted by a resounding 522 to 13 to back May’s call for an election, the third in a little over two years, the decks have been cleared for the general elections which will predictably be dominated by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union less than a year ago. May’s reasoning is unexceptionable—that she needs to consolidate her power as she faces both pro-EU opposition politicians and hardcore Brexit-backers inside her own party as the countdown begins for the process of break formally with EU to be completed.
The political and economic upheaval spawned by Brexit will require a strong government to tackle it and Theresa May is bracing herself for it in right earnest. She is conscious of the fact that much of her credibility would depend on how good a deal she can get from Europe. She said after the decision to go ahead with the snap poll as against the scheduled poll in 2020 that the early ballot would strengthen Britain’s negotiating hand with the 27-member EU. She said: “Brexit isn’t just about the letter that says we want to leave. It’s about…getting the right deal from Europe.”
Theresa May’s Conservatives currently hold 330 of the House of Commons seats while Labour has 229. With the odds favouring the Conservatives to record an enhanced victory, Labour is shy to admit that an election at this stage will not suit the opposition party. Its leader Jeremy Corbyn said the election “gives the British people the chance to vote for a Labour government that will put the interests of the majority first.” All said and done, however, whatever be the outcome of the election, Brexit is a reality from which there is no going back.