Theresa May, Brexit and a Snap General Election

As it stands, Jeremy Corbyn is trailing Theresma May by 11 points; the largest polling defecit he has witnessed during his time as oppostion leader. In days gone by Theresa May would have been able to call a snap General Election to take advantage of this massive lead to further consolidate the Conservative grip on power (something Gordon Brown failed to do during his honeymoon period as PM). However, following the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011, a British Prime Minister no longer has this power. Although, she could still call an election through a number of backdoor options.

She could call a vote of no confidence in herself in order to secure a fresh election, although that risks the public misconstruing her intentions and would lead to a number of awkward interviews to clarify her intentions. She could attempt to repeal the Fixed Term Parliament Act, though that would say quite a lot about her opinion of Cameron’s legacy. Maybe leave that until he has actually run out of Parliament…. The most sensible option would be to pass a 1 clause piece of legislation that calls for a General Election, but doesn’t end the cycle of the fixed term parliament. That does risk setting a dangerous precedent that would totally negate the main philosophy of the Fixed Term Parliament Act, which was to take that power away from the PM.

That said, Theresa May has publicly ruled out this option. Though I don’t think it is because it is politically or legally tricky; I don’t think she honestly believes in her “Brexit means Brexit” stance that she immediately adopted upon entrance into office. Though it may not fit her ideologically, it does fit her image as a stern no-nonsense PM, which is exactly what the country is crying out for. Without calling a general election it puts her in a weaker position from which to “fight” for Brexit. She can publicly push for it and have it beaten down by an overwhelmingly pro remain parliament, to the public it looks like she tried and failed. She can balance keeping Britain in Europe and somewhat appease the leave campaigners with a Pro-Brexit rhetoric, a delicate operation, but an achievable goal in my mind.


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