What Are Snap Elections? What to Know Ahead of June 8

Thursday, 20 Apr, 2017

In a stunning about-turn, British Prime Minister Theresa May called for a parliamentary debate and subsequent vote on a proposal to hold a snap general election in the U.K.in 2017.

Yesterday (Tuesday), UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she would ask the House of Commons to approve snap elections.

You'll need to register to vote here by May 22 to vote in the General Election on June 8.

The move is expected to lead to a dissolution of the British parliament on May 3, after which a 25-day election campaign would ensue ahead of the election. She cited the need for "strong leadership" in order to get the best possible deal in the Brexit negotiations and to steer the United Kingdom in the right direction thereafter.

Currently, the Conservative Party has a narrow majority of 330 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.

But, while May is trying to focus the election debate on Brexit, Corbyn is looking to harness the powerful anti-establishment mood revealed by the European Union referendum, which has roots stretching back to the 2007-9 financial crisis.

But analysts have said the chances are weak - chiefly because the Liberal Democrats would probably not want to ally with a struggling Labour Party, which is also deeply divided over its current leader.

By contrast Labour is wracked by divisions, over Brexit and Corbyn's left-wing leadership, which is opposed by many of his more centrist MPs.

"Every vote for the Conservatives will make it harder for those who want to stop me from getting the job done", May told a rowdy lower house during her weekly question and answer session. That would give the Conservatives 382 seats, Labour 179, the Lib Dems 10, the SNP 56, and others 23. May also said that she was very proud of her government's achievements with regard to increased spending on healthcare and a decrease in unemployment.

May dismissed criticism of her decision to call voters back to polling booths for the third time in just over 24 months.

Labour has said it will back the government on Brexit as long as certain conditions are respected, such as retaining strong economic ties with the European Union and defending workers' and environmental rights.

She said the early ballot would strengthen Britain's negotiating hand with the 27-member EU.

"The damage to the country will be huge if we end up with an unrestrained "Brexit At Any Cost" majority".

Deutsche Bank economists have changed their view on the pound following May's election call, which they describe as a "game-changer". But the Prime Minister has refused to take part in televised leaders' debates.

"We won't be doing television debates", May said, adding that politicians should spend election campaigns "out and about" meeting voters.

Veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby, who hosted debates on the BBC in 2010 and 2015, warned the "perilous" stance could backfire on the PM.

In a newspaper interview published Wednesday, she said holding talks with Brussels in the run-up to a 2020 general election could damage London's negotiating position.

Three weekend opinion polls put the Conservatives about 20 points ahead of Labour, and if translated into votes, this could give May an "election landslide" with a majority of more than 100, according to an analysis by The Times.

A BBC spokesman said that it was too early to say whether the broadcaster would seek to stage a debate.