Theresa May seeks more bargaining power for Brexit

Posted by ap507 at Jun 27, 2017 01:05 PM |
Dr Rob Dover from the School of History, Politics and International Relations was recently interviewed by Brazilian magazine Correio Braziliense

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  • Note: This article was originally published prior to the recent General Election and is translated from Spanish 

Next Thursday, 45 million Britons will have the right to go to the polls to take part in the legislative elections convened by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The Conservative leader hopes to use the votes to preserve the majority in Parliament and strengthen government, galvanizing more power in the difficult negotiations on the exit process from the United Kingdom of the European Union. 

"Brexit is an opportunity to shape a better and brighter future for the UK.  Support me and I will work every day to make it a success, "she wrote on Twitter. The appeal sounded like a cry for help: Labour, led by leftist Jeremy Corbyn, gained momentum in polls and reduced the downside by 20 percentage points to just 3 points. Polls show 42 percent of voting intentions for conservatives, 39 percent for labor, and 4 percent for the Euroctic UK Independence Party (Ukip).

"I had the courage to do that," acknowledged May, alluding to the anticipation of the elections.  The prime minister may have shot herself in the foot. The chances of her maintaining dominion over the House of Commons and the House of London are increasingly remote. In her high-risk move, she would leave the ballot box weakened and with little credibility to dialogue with Brussels. Professor of intelligence and international security at the University of Leicester, 167 km from London, Rob Dover warns that if May loses a majority in Parliament or does not get wide margin, she will be in big trouble. 

"The right wing of the party will force it to move forward with Brexit without closing the deal. She will be held hostage in this wing," he told the Post.

According to Dover, the prime minister wants freedom of negotiation with the EU, without interference from the "most conservative among the Conservatives" in Parliament. "May wanted the negative effects of Brexit to be felt by several before the next election. By 2020, we will have the economic shock of Brexit, and May may face a major electoral problem," he notes. "I can see why May agreed to take the risk: the opposition was in turmoil and the polls gave him a 20-point lead over Corbyn.  The prime minister is committing the latest sin of a politician by submitting to a popular referendum. "

While Conservatives want the vote to be about Brexit, Labour wants to focus on economic and social issues. The prime minister's stance has not been helpful in reversing the drop in polls: she declined to participate in debates. "Theresa May has avoided a debate because she knows that her record of failure and injustice is indefensible," Corbyn said on Twitter. The 68-year-old politician has launched a manifesto with controversial proposals, such as tax increases and the nationalization of postal services, energy companies and the rail system.  Dover acknowledges that the Labour program is "radical," but admits that renationalisation of the rail network is popular, even among right-wingers in the south.

"It is highly unlikely that Labour will form the next government, even with reversal in the polls," he says.  The Leicester expert believes that if young people go to the polls in mass, Labour will have a greater chance of success. "Corbyn's party was the only one to appeal to this portion of the electorate, by promising free college education."

Professor of King's College London and director of the Department of History and Politics, Andrew Blick maintains that May tries to avoid a resistance to Brexit within his own party. "This would hamper negotiations.  To justify her victory, she needs an overwhelming majority, a result that is in question at the moment.  May may conclude that she will win the suit, but that it will not be worth holding the elections," he told the report.

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