British public shocked as Theresa May calls snap election

DW – April 18, 2017

Ever since Theresa May became prime minister, after Britain voted to leave the EU on June 23 and David Cameron resigned, the possibility of an early election has hovered in the background. May has strenuously denied that this was her plan.

In September, she said: “I’m not going to be calling a snap election. I’ve been very clear that I think we need that period of time, that stability, to be able to deal with the issues that the country is facing and have that election in 2020.” As late as last month, Downing Street was denying that an early election was on the cards.

So what has changed? Over the past few months, May has set out her vision for a hard Brexit in which Britain does not retain any kind of partial membership of the EU. In Tuesday’s statement announcing an election on June 8, May made it explicit that she is seeking to strengthen her mandate for this, saying that “at this moment of enormous national significance here in Britain, there should be unity in Westminster.”