Saturday 21 October 2017

May's big gamble

UK prime minister calls snap election to bolster Brexit position

British Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to make a statement in Downing Street yesterday Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire
British Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to make a statement in Downing Street yesterday Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

British Prime Minister Theresa May's surprise snap election is a political gamble that will define the nature of Brexit.

After thinking "long and hard" during a walking holiday in Wales, she said it was necessary to try to stop the opposition "jeopardising" her work.

Mrs May is capitalising on her runaway lead in the opinion polls and she could win around 100 additional seats in parliament.

This would give her more authority both within her own party, where she might seek to rein in her own Brexiteers, and among a British electorate left deeply divided by last year's referendum.

She is counting on winning the support of voters who backed Brexit by 52pc to 48pc - but the move is a major gamble in parts of the UK that voted Remain, such as Scotland.

The Government here also expressed concern that the early election could damage the chances of resolving a political crisis in Northern Ireland.

Sources also believe Taoiseach Enda Kenny will use the British election as further evidence for why he should keep a steady hand on the tiller until the Brexit negotiations are fully under way.

Irish Independent

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