The United Kingdom, and it is fair to say the entire world, is still reeling from the decision of British Prime Minister Theresa May to call a snap general election for June 8, less than two months away. The election is three years early as the U.K. had previously introduced fixed five year terms. Therefore, this decision to call an early election just two years after the previous one has been met with criticism. Many have called the decision a cynical move designed to exploit the weakness of the Labour opposition under the dysfunctional leadership of socialist Jeremy Corbyn. Others have highlighted the various times where May had ruled out calling a snap election to argue she has deceived the British people.
Certainly, sending British voters to the polls three years early is going to bring about a fair amount of resentment from the people. They had voted in the 2015 general election and also in the 2016 Brexit referendum so the people will be feeling a decent amount of election fatigue. But the reasons for calling this election far outweigh these negatives, especially given now that Article 50 has been triggered to begin the Brexit process and tough negotiations with the European Union define the next two years of British politics.
In the 2015 general election under David Cameron’s Prime Ministership the Conservative Party only just scraped together a majority, winning 330 seats out of 650 in the House of Commons. Given that, unlike Australia, the British parties do not have strong party discipline Theresa May is far from guaranteed to get all of the eventual Brexit agenda through the parliament.
You only had to look at how difficult it was for her to just get Article 50 triggered as the courts forced her to have a parliamentary vote, imagine once the Brexit deal is finalised how much messier this is likely to get. With Labor, the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats unhappy with Brexit, British politics looks like it could head to a period of political deadlock.
With the most recent poll showing that the Conservatives are 21 points ahead of Labour the time has never been better for the Conservatives to obtain a supermajority in the House of Commons which would allow them greater freedom to negotiate a better Brexit deal for the United Kingdom. They would not have to worry about Labour tampering with it should they win or it being blocked or sabotaged in the House of Commons.
The second reason why this election is necessary is because Theresa May needs her own mandate as Prime Minister and be elected by the people. In 2015, the people voted for David Cameron as Prime Minister and were under the impression he would be there for the vast majority of that five-year term. But after the Brexit result, which he had campaigned against, he had no choice but to resign with four years left on his term.
Even though in the Westminster system people vote for the party the voters are most of the time vote based on who is the leader. Therefore, it would seem profoundly undemocratic for Theresa May, who the people didn’t vote for to be Prime Minister, to not face an election for until four years into her Prime Ministership. She is a new leader who will take the nation in a different direction with new policies than her predecessor, surely the British people should be able to have a say on that?
It is a risky move to call this election no doubt, if it went the wrong way a Socialist Jeremy Corbyn government would be disaster for the United Kingdom and send British society back to the decadent pre-Thatcher days. But that British people voted for Brexit and May is the only viable choice to carry out that process. Theresa May is nowhere near perfect but her commitment to seeing the Brexit process through is commendable. Contrary to what the mainstream media claimed Brexregret does not exist. If the British people want to be in a strong negotiating position with the EU then they should know that a vote for May and the Conservatives at this election is the only option.