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UK Election Debates Won't Feature The Prime Minister
21 April 2017, 03:16 | Terri Saunders
Britain will go to the polls on June 8 after MPs cleared the way for an early general election in a House of Commons vote praised by Theresa May as "the right decision" in the national interest.
The UK prime minister, who until very recently opposed holding a referendum, said that the vote is necessary to strengthen her position at the Brexit negotiating table.
As the measure does not need approval from the House of Lords, the process of dissolving parliament next month in advance of the election will get underway. A two-thirds majority of MPs must agree to a move that will shorten the lifespan of a parliament.
May has already won approval from Queen Elizabeth for the snap election.
The president of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, believes "real" Brexit talks will only start after British snap elections, an EU spokesman said yesterday.
And she set out her line of attack against Labour, saying voters would face a choice between "stable and strong leadership, which I hope they have seen, and a coalition of Corbyn supported by the Liberal Democrats and the SNP".
Downing Street said the June election will not affect May's Brexit timetable.
During a special debate in theHouse of Commons, she said it was the "right and responsible" thing to do hold the election now to provide "five years of stability and certainty" and help the United Kingdom prepare for life outside the EU.
Technically, there are now only two ways to call early elections. Some opinion polls have put Labour more than 20 points behind the Conservatives.
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Addressing activists in the key Labour target seat of Croydon Central, Mr Corbyn said the election "is about the future of all of us - the future of our children, the future of social justice, the future of our jobs".
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told her: "She says it's about leadership, yet is refusing to defend her record in television debates and it's not hard to see why".
Mrs May surprised allies and opponents on Tuesday when she announced her plan to bring forward an election that was not due until 2020, saying she needed to avoid a clash of priorities in the sensitive final stages of the two-year Brexit talks, reported Reuters.
Her predecessor David Cameron agreed to be questioned in front of a BBC Question Time-style audience for live television programmes during the 2015 general election.
"There should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division", May said Tuesday, according to CNN. "The country is coming together, but Westminster is not".
Speaking on Sky News, she said: "You could make the case that there is a little bit of political expediency in going early before that economic bite hits people's sentiment".
There has been widespread public support for Monday's decision, while political experts have given mixed responses.
"This election is about her Government's failure to rebuild the economy and living standards for the majority".
"Make no mistake, if the SNP wins this election in Scotland - and the Tories don't - then Theresa May's attempt to block our mandate to hold another referendum when the time is right, will crumble to dust", SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
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