Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday April 21, 2017
Snap Election called in Great Britain
In a dramatic statement on the steps of Downing Street, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, fired the starting gun on a poll that she hopes will deliver her an unassailable majority to shape the country’s future.
She blamed opposition parties who have been trying to frustrate Brexit for her sudden change of heart after months insisting she will not hold an election – singling out Nicola Sturgeon’s efforts to exploit the situation to tear the UK apart.
The bold move took even Cabinet members by surprise, having been kept a closely guarded secret between a handful of the premier’s closest allies and aides.
Brexit Secretary David Davis and Chancellor Philip Hammond have been jointly pressing the PM to call an early vote for some time, and were informed of Mrs May’s decision at a meeting yesterday. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd are understood to have been told this morning shortly before the gathering of her top team in No10.
Mrs May revealed the shift was driven by soul-searching while she hiked in Snowdonia with husband Philip over the Easter break.
The media were given barely an hour’s notice of the speech this morning, and there had been no rumours at Westminster about her change of heart. Even as the Cabinet meeting began this morning, aides to senior ministers were still sending out updates on other areas of government business.
Mrs May said Britain needed strong leadership to navigate the fraught divorce talks with the EU, insisting she was now convinced an early poll was in the ‘national interest’.
She said ‘every vote for the Conservatives would give her a stronger hand when she sits across the negotiating table from the EU’s presidents and prime ministers to hammer out a Brexit deal.
The election is an astonishing U-turn from the Prime Minister who has repeatedly said she would not call another ballot before 2020 – insisting it would cause instability and hurt the country. (Source: Daily Mail)