Speed Reads

Britain Votes

British Prime Minister Theresa May calls for surprise early election

On Tuesday morning, British Prime Minister Theresa May held a surprise news conference outside her official residence at 10 Downing Street to announce she plans to seek early elections, scheduled for June 8. Under a law passed by her predecessor, David Cameron, snap elections must be approved by Parliament. May rose to power in July, after Cameron's Brexit vote backfired, and she is seeking a stronger mandate as she prepares to negotiate Britain's exit from the European Union. In her announcement, May said Britain needs new elections because opposition parties and the House of Lords are getting in the way of her Brexit negotiations. "Our opponents believe that because the government's majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course," she said. "They are wrong."

May had previously ruled out early elections, saying in a TV interview in September: "I'm not going to be calling a snap election. I've been very clear that I think we need that period of time, that stability, to be able to deal with the issues that the country is facing and have that election in 2020." In recent opinion polls, May's Conservative Party is far ahead of the opposition Labour Party and smaller parties.