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British Prime Minister Theresa May calls for general election June 8

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday she wants a general election to be held June 8, a surprise announcement as she attempts to solidify her leadership position as the country starts negotiations to exit the European Union.
The next general election was not expected before 2020. On several occasions May had denied speculation that she would call an early election in the wake of the June Brexit referendum to leave the EU. An earlier vote needs parliamentary approval, which could come as early as Wednesday in the House of Commons.
“After the country voted to leave the EU, Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership. Since I became prime minister the government has delivered precisely that," May said otuside her office on Downing Street in London. "I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election."
Recent polls show that May’s Conservative Party has a commanding lead over the opposition Labour Party. But many Labour politicians, along with Liberal Democrat and Scottish National Party members of Parliament have threatened to block any final Brexit agreement between May’s government and the EU.
Calling for a vote in six weeks is viewed as an attempt by May to secure a new mandate in Brexit negotiations. May became prime minister after her predecessor, David Cameron, resigned after the Brexit referendum passed, 52% to 48%. She has not faced a public vote on her leadership. Her Conservative Party has a narrow majority in the House of Commons, holding 330 of 650 seats.
The British pound rose strongly after May called for the vote. Earlier the currency fell sharply. British stocks seesawed on the news.
"Everything points to the (Conservatives) being elected with a substantially increased majority — which will give the government a firm mandate ... as it begins the difficult, complex work of negotiating Brexit," said Paul Mumford, a financial fund manager at Cavendish Asset Management. "This can only reduce uncertainty ... over the next couple of years, so it's a sensible move."
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn also welcomed the announcement. He said it would “give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first.”
But Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon, who wants to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence because of Brexit, warned that May would use the upcoming June vote to move Britain to the political right and impose new economic austerity measures.

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