by Graham Pierrepoint
In the UK, General Elections occur generally every four or five years – and have to be called by the Prime Minister in charge. In recent past, this tradition has been steadfast – however, there are particular occasions when a Prime Minister can call a ‘snap’ election in the midst of certain issues and if there is demand. Despite Theresa May having previously denied that there was any chance of an election occurring before 2020 as recently as March, the UK leader has this week announced that the British public will go to the polls this June – just over two years since David Cameron was voted in as Prime Minister with a Conservative Party majority.
What does this mean for the country? For a start, it is the first time a snap election has been called in recent history – and secondly, it has been called following one of the most pivotal moments in UK policy history. Brexit is officially underway, with the UK set to leave the European Union in March 2019 – and some political commentators have proposed that May is perhaps launching an election now while she both has a firm lead over the opposition, and so that the next one can take place a year after Brexit has finalized. No matter where you stand, it can hardly be said calling the election wasn’t a shrewd move on May’s part.
It will also be crunch time for the SNP, and certainly for Labour. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has been infamously fractious over whether or not the MP should lead, and despite having won two leadership contests, his popularity in opinion polls seems to be slipping behind that of Theresa May, despite the Prime Minister having faced her own barrage of criticism over Brexit and a number of policy issues. Certainly, with just over a month until the surprise ballot is carried out, many believe it will be Corbyn’s last chance to show that he can potentially lead the country.
The UK calling an election so soon may seem somewhat strange to other countries – yet, after the divisive Brexit campaign, it all the more makes sense. With many commentators keen to advise that the result will likely be a Conservative landslide, voters of other parties may be keen to seek a mutual strategy to try and shake things up a little. Just when you thought British politics was calming down… you were proven wrong!