Election good for Brexit talks, says European Union chief
Election good for Brexit talks, says European Union chief
22 Abril, 2017, 20:01
The Labour party has been riven by divisions over its leader Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit, while Mrs May's commitment to a clean break with the European Union has undermined support for the eurosceptic UK Independence Party. "The result is not certain", she said in a speech at a GlaxoSmithKline factory in her constituency of Maidenhead. This election is a chance for them to change direction of the country. She said she was confident of reaching a deal in that time frame.
"But I think our British friends will lose more than what we lose", she said.
Somewhat unkindly, some papers are saying May called the election because she feared the controversial Corbyn was about to resign and she would face a stronger Opposition leader.
Televised debates give the opposition a chance to score points against the establishment - as Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg successfully did during the 2010 debates.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May made an unexpected announcement on Tuesday that she would seek a "snap" election less than halfway through her government's five-year term, with the aim of gaining a stronger mandate for the country's historic withdrawal from the European Union.
The PM says she wants her hand strengthened in the Brexit negotiations.
Calling for a mobilisation of voters to demand clear statements of candidates' positions on Brexit, and particularly whether they would refuse to support an exit that "that substantially diminishes our access to the single market" or a no deal outcome, he added: "We don't know what size majority Mrs May will get".
The demands, obtained by Politico Europe, outline key negotiating guidelines for Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, who will launch talks on a Brexit treaty sometime after Britain's general election on June 8.
Polls give the Conservatives a double-digit lead over Labour, and May is gambling that an election will deliver her a personal mandate from voters and produce a bigger Conservative majority.
"Even though May looks set to secure a strong mandate from United Kingdom voters, the priority of European Union negotiators heading into the Brexit talks remains the protection of the European Union", said Jane Foley, senior foreign exchange strategist at Rabobank.
It had been hoped talks could start by the end of that month, but EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Wednesday that "the real political negotiations" with Britain would not start till after the June 8 election.
In a video, captured and posted to Twitter by ITV political correspondent Daniel Hewitt, a male driver can be seen throwing two fingers up at one of the black cars in a fleet taking the Prime Minister away from a parish church in Walmsley village.
Liberal Democrat leader Farron said that broadcasters should hold debates anyway, with an empty chair in May's place.
On Tuesday, the British premier described her move to call a snap election a "recent and reluctant decision".
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