UK’s Snap Election : The Candidates and What It Could Mean for the USA
The Brits are about to snap! Well, the Brits are actually about to vote in their snap-election, a unique and unexpected election that comes less than halfway through the term of United Kingdom’s current Prime Minister Theresa May.
May was elected as the Prime Minister of Britain in July 2016, after former Prime Minister David Cameron vacated the position following the chaotic EU Referendum (aka Brexit) decision.
General elections are held every five years in Britain and the next was not scheduled until 2020, so it came as a surprise when May who had previously rejected the idea of a snap-election, announced that she would look to the people’s votes to “seek [the voters’] support on the decisions I must take,” referring mainly to how the government should handle Brexit, or Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The snap-election will allow voters to choose the lawmakers who will fill the lower section of Britain’s Parliament, the House of Commons, which holds 650 seats. Either the conservative Tories or the liberal Labour Party will seize control of Britain’s political itinerary, and will gain the upper hand in deciding how the UK will exit the European Union.
The question in tomorrow’s snap-election is not whether British voters want Brexit to occur, but how they would like Britain to leave the European Union.
May’s sudden change of mind in deciding to hold a snap election was surprising but rooted in her need to gain more of a majority in the House of Commons. She currently holds 330 of the 650 seats. If the election goes May’s way, her Brexit plans could be expected to run smoothly.
Prime Minister May’s willingness to hold the snap-election hints at her confidence that she will win.
“If we do not hold a general election now,” said May, “their political game playing will continue,” she said of the labor Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.
“At this moment of enormous national significance, there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division. The country is coming together, but Westminster is not,” she explained.
Thus far, May’s campaign for June 8’s snap-election mainly focused on her plans for Brexit.
As the leader of the Conservative Party, May supports what some Brits are calling a ‘hard Brexit.’ The hard Brexit strategy would sever most ties with the rest of the European Union. May has confirmed that her version of Brexit would mean that Britain would be completely removed from the EU’s single market. The Labour Party on the other hand favors softer transition from the European Union.
The EU single market is the standard in which Europe is considered “one territory without internal borders or other regulatory obstacles to the free movement of goods and services [and people.]”
In light of recent terrorist attacks in the UK, the issue of immigration has been a staple discussion area for the snap-election. A hard Brexit could lead to stricter immigration laws for Britain.
May’s plans for stricter immigration laws are offset by her plans to slash corporate taxes to just 17%, which could place Britain as one of the countries with the lowest taxes in the developed world.
The Labour Party, behind candidate Jeremy Corbyn, plans to raise taxes to 26% by the end of the decade, as they hope to eradicate university fees, introduce new rights for workers, and fix railways.
Corbyn and the Labour Party have far more liberal ideals when it comes to Brexit than May does, as well.
Mainly, Corbyn has countered May with his support for a ‘soft Brexit’ which includes a vision for a future where Britain has left the European Union, but still holds connections to it and the single market.
Holding ties to the single market would mean the continuation of free trade and immigration for Britain.
While May is known for her decades of experience in Parliament, Corbyn is known for being an anti-war campaigner and is renowned for his work as a human rights activist. In his campaigns for Britain’s future he promises to be a minister of “Peace and Disarmament.”
“Unlike the Conservatives, Labour believes Britain’s foreign policy should be guided by the values of peace, universal rights and international law,” states Corbyn’s manifesto.
In reference to the US however, it is clear whose win would mean friendlier relations between the Prime Minister of Britain and President Trump.
Corbyn took a jab at his opponent when he promised that there would be no more “pandering to an erratic Trump administration” if he were to win the election. It was a reference to the controversy May caused when she visited Washington D.C., and held hands with President Trump. She has also continued to stress the importance of a working relationship with the United States.
Whether this working relationship with the U.S. will be deemed of less importance after she criticized Trump’s twitter rant about London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan is still to be seen.
In response to the London Bridge terrorist attack on Saturday evening Trump tweeted, “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’”
President Trump was quickly corrected for taking Khan’s words out of context, as earlier that evening Mayor Khan had asked Londoners “not to be alarmed” by the presence of extra armed officers in the city in response to the terrorist attacks.
Trump took to twitter again to write, “pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!”
In response to Trump’s attacks on London’s Mayor, May was straightforward in her support of Mayor Khan at a press conference.
“Sadiq Khan is doing a good job. It’s wrong to say anything else,” said May.
While early polls showed May with the upper hand, polls taken in the last week have shown an increased likelihood that Corbyn will win the election, but nothing will be settled until the actual voting occurs on Thursday.
The third option is a tie between the Conservative and Labour parties, which would result in the two candidates working as a coalition and compromising on their beliefs, as neither would hold the majority in parliament.
A tie is however, considered an unlikely result in any election, but especially one entrenched around Brexit, an issue that has gained international attention.
With the snap-election only a day away, both Prime Minister May and Labour leader Corbyn have continued their campaigns to win the position which will provide them with an upper hand in parliament.
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