Theresa May has called for a general election to take place on Thursday June 8, a call which has been answered with willing enthusiasm from Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Put to an MP vote, 522 were in favour of the election, while only 13 were against. That made it official, we will go to the polls in June.
With the Prime Minister’s move coming out of the blue on the day after Easter Monday, many people have been left with big questions concerning this sudden turn of events. Here’s the answers you could be looking for…
1. Why did Theresa May call the election?
Mrs May said she called the election in order to quiet divisions in Westminster. She believes stability is important as the UK heads into Brexit negotiations with the EU, and a general election victory would give her a mandate of authority.
She’ll also be aware of opinion polls which put the Conservatives considerably ahead of Labour, hence it could be an opportune time to hold the election and cement her party’s position of power.
2. What happens now?
Parliament will break up on May 3, with the election campaigns starting on the following day. Voting will take place on June 8.
3. What role will TV debates play in the election?
Theresa May has told the BBC that she won’t be taking part in television debates, as she prefers to meet people out and about.
However, both Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron have expressed willingness to debate on television.
Mr Corbyn said “if the election is about leadership, she [Theresa May] should not be dodging TV debates”.
Will the television decision work for or against the Prime Minister? Vote in our poll.
4. How will this impact Brexit?
Brexit negotiations aren’t due to enter the serious stages until after the summer. By resolving the general election now, Theresa May believes it will strengthen the UK’s position in those negotiations.
However, should there be a change of government, it could dramatically impact the way we conduct Brexit.
5. How do I vote?
If you’re eligible to vote, you’ll need to make sure you’re registered. If you’re not, you can sign up on the government’s website. The cut off point for registering is likely to be May 22. You must be 18 or over in England and Wales, or 16 and over in Scotland.
Polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm on June 8.
6. What will the result be?
The validity of polls could be questioned after they failed to predict Brexit and President Trump.
However, right now, polls have the Conservatives 21 points ahead of Labour. This could be a factor in why Mrs May called the election. If the polls are correct, she could deliver a huge blow to the Labour party.
7. When will we know the result?
With voting ending on the evening of Thursday June 8, the result should be in by the following morning.
8. What are the key people saying?
Theresa May “Let the House of Commons vote for an election, let everybody put forward their proposals for Brexit and their programmes for government, and let us remove the risk of uncertainty and instability and continue to give the country the strong and stable leadership it demands.”
Jeremy Corbyn “I welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first.”
Tim Farron “This election is your chance to change the direction of our country. Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority.”