UK prime minister defends decision to seek snap election

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn will vow on Thursday to defeat what he calls a "cosy cartel" at the heart of British politics that protects the interests of the wealthy.

British voters will be heading to polling stations for the third time since 2015, after lawmakers overwhelmingly backed Prime Minister Theresa May's call for a snap election on June 8.

The parliamentary election comes less than a year after Britain voted to leave the European Union, and will likely be dominated by the political and economic upheaval spawned by Brexit.

Last year's vote to leave the European Union split Labour's traditional supporter base, which is divided between typically pro-EU inner city voters, and working-class voters in less affluent areas who voted in favour of Brexit.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's shock announcement to call a General Election for June 8 in an attempt to solidify her grip on power amidst the turmoil of upcoming Brexit negotiations has only served to further hinder the country's green economy and policy moves, an unintended effect which will create policy and investment uncertainty for months to come.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron accused Mrs May of "bottling" and said broadcasters had a "moral duty" to go ahead with the televised leaders' showdowns even if she fails to take part.

Britain's next national election is now scheduled for 2020, a year after the scheduled completion of two years of European Union exit talks.

"That would be in nobody's interest", May said.

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.

In contrast, nearly all the MPs in May's Conservatives party (325 out of 330) voted for the early election.

"I think it is right now to ask the British people, to put their trust in me and the Conservative Party to deliver on their vote a year ago a Brexit plan that will make a success for this country and deliver a stronger, fairer global Britain in the future".

Despite Corbyn's bravado, his party is demoralized and divided under his left-wing leadership and is expected to fare badly. She has also played up the strength of the British economy, which has so far defied predictions of a slowdown - a key campaign theme that her Conservative Party will use to try to undermine Labour in the election.

"News of a snap United Kingdom election has seen a strong rally in the pound", broker Liberum said in a note to clients.

And she said there was "no way" the SNP was going to win 56 seats this time around.

The Prime Minister gave a short speech in a parish hall in Walmsley, a village in the Labour target seat of Bolton North East, as the scramble for votes begins hours after MPs voted to clear the way for the June 8 poll. She added that she hoped it would bring about unity during a hard time as the United Kingdom negotiated the terms of Brexit.

For months the Prime Minister has said that a snap, early election was, in her view, the last thing the country needed. "It's about ... getting the right deal from Europe".

The prime minister is hoping to significantly boost her current Commons majority of 17 to increase her authority, ahead of 18 months of talks which will determine the manner of the UK's exit from the EU.

Initially, EU officials had said that the talks could start in late May once a detailed negotiating mandate had been agreed among the EU's 27 other members.

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