Yesterday afternoon, MPs voted by a margin of 522 votes to 13 to hold a snap election on 8th June 2017.
Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats supported the move.
The Fixed Term Parliament Act allows for an early election if two-thirds of the House agrees.
The reasons for the snap election
The best immigration solicitors and academics have spent the last 24 hours debating why Theresa May, who has previously stated many times she would not call an early election, suddenly performed a U-turn.
Various reasons have been floated, including:
- To create a personal mandate. Theresa May has had to govern without her own personal mandate since she succeeded David Cameron 10 months ago. She chose to promote a ‘hard Brexit’ to appease the stroppy Euro-sceptic element of the Conservative party and an anti-immigration stance to appeal to the public. She desperately needs to create her own mandate to successfully negotiate a good deal for Britain when it comes to leaving the EU.
- Gaining a larger majority in the House will provide more freedom to negotiate with the EU without minor parties/individuals blocking key decisions.
- Labour is bitterly divided, and there is strong possibility that a massive defeat on 8th June will send them into a political black hole that may take years to re-emerge from.
- Theresa May needs to make a clean break from promises made by her predecessor, David Cameron, prior to Brexit. Policies such as a commitment not to raise tax and other levies on income and to raise pensions by a minimum 2.5% a year regardless of inflation or average earnings are clearly no longer viable in an uncertain post-EU Referendum economy.
Of course, the real reason for the election may be a combination of these hypotheses.
What happens next?
Over the next few weeks, political parties will be campaigning hard, and there is only one issue likely to dominate – Brexit. Theresa May has ruled out televised debates – a move mocked by Labour and the Liberal Democrats. It seems the Conservatives will be relying on the argument that Labour cannot be trusted with the economy.
“People will have a real choice in this election,” Mrs May told MPs. “They will have a choice between a Conservative government that has shown we can build a stronger economy and a Labour whose economic policies would bankrupt this country.”
Although anything can happen on an election day, most polls are predicting a landslide win for Theresa May. This means that a hard Brexit will move closer to reality; therefore, EU nationals living in Britain need to secure their Permanent Residence Cards and/or British Citizenship to ensure they can prove their right to remain in the country after 2019.
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Posted on: Thursday, 20 April, 2017