Theresa May 'decided on snap general election while walking in Wales before Easter'

Prime Minister announces call for 8 June election, despite denying she would seek one

Katie Forster
Tuesday 18 April 2017 14:10 BST
Theresa May and husband Philip on a previous walking holiday in the Swiss Alps
Theresa May and husband Philip on a previous walking holiday in the Swiss Alps

Theresa May has said she decided to call for a snap election while walking in Wales before Easter.

The Prime Minister announced this morning her intention to hold a general election on 8 June – despite repeatedly saying it was not something she would consider.

Ms May said she was on a walking holiday with her husband Philip when she changed her mind.

“Before Easter, I spent a few days walking in Wales with my husband, thought about this long and hard and came to the decision that to provide that stability and certainty for the future, this was the way to do it – to have an election," she told ITV News.

“I trust the British people. The British people gave the Government a job to do in terms of coming out of the European Union and I'm going to be asking the British people to put their trust in me in ensuring we deliver a success of that.”

On 20 March, a Downing Street spokesperson said: "There is not going to be a general election".

And in October, Ms May told The Sunday Times: "I think it's right that the next general election is in 2020. This isn't about political games, it's about what is right for the country".

Theresa May calls general election for June 8

This morning she said she had only come to the conclusion an election was needed "recently", adding: "We need a general election and we need one now."

For the general election to go ahead, the Prime Minister must win a two-thirds majority in a Parliament vote tomorrow. Labour and the Liberal Democrats have both given their support to the election.

A poll for The Independent found the Conservatives are currently 21 points ahead of Labour, giving the party its greatest lead while in government since 1983.

Ms May is a regular visitor to Snowdonia, according to Downing Street, and has gone on walking holidays in the past to the Swiss Alps.

On her break last week, officials continued to brief her on matters of importance such as heightened tensions in Syria.

After reaching her decision, Ms May said she told the Queen on Easter Monday and then sought the full approval of the Cabinet before making her announcement.

The Prime Minister said a strong government was needed before pushing ahead with Brexit talks with the European Union.

Without a snap general election Ms May said “political game-playing” in Westminster would coincide with negotiations reaching their “most difficult stage” in the run-up to the previously scheduled 2020 election.

“Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit, and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country,” she said.

“So we need a general election and we need one now. Because we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done, while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.”

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