Since Theresa May was selected by her party to succeed David Cameron as PM post EU referendum it was clear that she had no solid mandate from the electorate to take the nation through the transformative experience of negotiation a divorce from the EU.
The absence of such a solid mandate resulted in a lack of decisiveness and conflicting communication on Brexit negotiations with additional battle fields developing within the governing party itself (see for example u-turn re NIS hike one week after Spring Budget announcement), in Westminster (peers versus MPs), Northern Ireland (border with Ireland/Good Friday agreement) and Scotland (2nd referendum on independence). Whenever I pointed this out and asked people about the potential of and indeed the need for an early election, I got “no way”, “not needed, there’s enough time until the next election”, “would add too much uncertainty” or “impossible due to fixe term parliament”.
10 months of confusion and wasted time later, PM May has just called an early election for 8 June. The Fixed-term Parliament Act 2011 requires that two thirds of MPs vote in favour of her proposal, then the election will be triggered.
An election will give parties the opportunity to present to the electorate a clear vision of post-Brexit Britain and how to get there. I think a key issue will be the Great Repeal bill which will transpose thousands of EU laws and regulations into UK law in order to provide legal contuinity from the day the UK is no longer an EU member in March 2019. The mechanism proposed by Brexit minister Davis would give the government a carte blanche to select what it sees fit with proper scrutiny by parliament, something that goes against all principles of transparency and division of power in a democracy.
I suggested in an earlier blog post that the vote in favour of leaving the EU was an expression of no confidence in central authorities – especially those authorities based in London and their focus on austerity. This is why, even though current polls indicate a firm Conservative lead over the main opposition party, I don’t think a Conservative victory is a done deal just yet.
Not in 2017 – a year with so many uncertainties.