British Prime Minister Theresa May called on Tuesday for an early election on June 8, saying she needed to strengthen her hand in divorce talks with the European Union by shoring up support for her Brexit plan.
Standing outside her Downing Street office, May said she had been reluctant about asking parliament to back her move to bring forward the poll from 2020. But, after thinking “long and hard” during a walking holiday in Wales, decided it was necessary to try to stop the opposition “jeopardising” her work on Brexit, reports Reuters.
Some were surprised by her move – she has repeatedly said she does not want to be distracted by time-consuming campaigning – but opinion polls give her a strong lead, the economy is weathering the Brexit vote and she has faced opposition from her own party for some of her domestic reforms.
Sterling rose to a four-month high against the U.S. dollar after the market bet that May would strengthen her parliamentary majority, which Deutsche Bank said would be a “game-changer” for the pound.
The stronger pound helped to push down Britain’s main share index, which was headed for the biggest one-day drop since June 27, days after Britain voted to leave the EU.
“It was with reluctance that I decided the country needs this election, but it is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond,” May said.
“Before Easter I spent a few days walking in Wales with my husband, thought about this long and hard, and came to the decision that to provide that stability and certainty for the future that this was the way to do it, to have an election,” she told ITV news.